BB Webb as BB Webb!

Exploring the Possibilities

What is it about Mr. Tom Robbins??? September 5, 2009

I’m lately indulging myself in one of my favorite writers, Mr. Tom Robbins. I was first introduced to him when I was but a mere pumpkin reading Even Cowgirls Get the Blues. Having always fashioned myself as a sort of renegade cowgirl, his protagonist, Sissy Hankshaw was a breath of fresh female icon to me…similar to the vagabond, adventurer I was becoming.

His stories feed my hunger for adventure while his prose seductively massage my mind with imagery created fresh by the way he masterfully puts words together. His Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates is hands down my favorite though I have a new one on my book stand which is jumping up and down like a grasshopper, to be read.

Robbins’ ability to draw an interesting and complex character and story is a delight, but for me, it is the way he describes a moment, a scene. I’m no reviewer and am struggling a bit here to share what it is that makes him unique as a writer and special to me. Somehow a mixture of:

…smart as hell, sexy, funny, irreverent, surprising, over the top, unexpected, daring, naughty, expansive, silly, spiritual, erotic, deep, fierce in moments and fun. And as I used to do, to the chagrin of my all suffering English teachers while attending high school at Linden Hall School for Girls, he makes up words!!! Qualities I admire and appreciate.

He was close buds with Timothy Leary and filmmaker Robert Altman….interesting blokes as well and keeping that in mind, might give you an idea how his mind is bent. Below, some thoughts from Mr. Robbins.

‘If you need to visualize the soul, think of it as a cross between a wolf howl, a photon, and a dribble of dark molasses. But what it really is, as near as I can tell, is a packet of information. It’s a program, a piece of hyperspatial software designed explicitly to interface with the Mystery. Not a mystery, mind you, the Mystery. The one that can never be solved.

To one degree or another, everybody is connected to the Mystery, and everybody secretly yearns to expand the connection. That requires expanding the soul. These things can enlarge the soul: laughter, danger, imagination, meditation, wild nature, passion, compassion, psychedelics, beauty, iconoclasm, and driving around in the rain with the top down. These things can diminish it: fear, bitterness, blandness, trendiness, egotism, violence, corruption, ignorance, grasping, shining, and eating ketchup on cottage cheese.

Tom Robbins wears Red

Tom Robbins wears Red

Data in our psychic program is often nonlinear, nonhierarchical, archaic, alive, and teeming with paradox. Simply booting up is a challenge, if not for no other reason than that most of us find acknowledging the unknowable and monitoring its intrusions upon the familiar and mundane more than a little embarrassing.

But say you’ve inflated your soul to the size of a beach ball and it’s soaking into the Mystery like wine into a mattress. What have you accomplished? Well, long term, you may have prepared yourself for a successful metamorphosis, an almost inconceivable transformation to be precipitated by your death or by some great worldwide eschatological whoopjamboreehoo. You may have. No one can say for sure.

More immediately, by waxing soulful you will have granted yourself the possibility of ecstatic participation in what the ancients considered a divinely animated universe. And on a day to day basis, folks, it doesn’t get any better than that.’

Off to my bedside for Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas’!

Nighty night.

BB Webb


4 Responses to “What is it about Mr. Tom Robbins???”

  1. rosanna Says:

    i was introduced to the writings of tom robbins some 25 odd years ago by an insect geneticist who thought i’d enjoy it, both, because of my warped sense of humor, but most probably because i have red hair. the book was “woodpecker” & my world changed on that day…. (not so much because of the red effect as much as the everything else). my eyes seemed open for the first time as my mind, body, & soul were given permission to imagine the world that everyone else overlooks, the world as i suspected it had always been, but had never been confirmed until that precise moment.

    i never really “got” fiction before … most of it just seemed like a bore … a contrived & colossal waste of time. but, then i suppose i dig tom’s books mostly because it seems he isn’t really writing fiction at all … more that he writes the hidden reality that is … in a most grand story-telling way. no one else makes fiction even remotely tolerable (for me), let alone, a delight! for the longest time, my favorite was jitterbug perfume. i’m an artist & it seemed the most nicely composed … all neat & tidy with a bow on top! second, i chose skinny legs & all, which i read & loved immediately when it came out (apparently way ahead of its time … 11 years to be exact o_o) … & just recently, i reread fierce invalids mainly because i got a new bookcase & was rearranging my books & realized when i picked it up that i couldn’t even remember what it was about (guess i was ultra distracted when i read that one) & now it is bumping shoulders with the other two, jockeying for my ultimate affections. so, now it appears to be my goal to revisit them all within the next year!

    also love the pic (which incidently looks not too unlike ketchup on cottage cheese : D)

    • BB Webb Says:

      Hi Rosanna!

      Thanks for your comment and forgive my delay….I’ve been LIVING in a similar surreal world as Mr. Robbins writes for sure. Life is goofier than fiction, of course maybe not Tom Robbin’s fiction.

      Yes, Fierce Invalids is my current favorite of his and I too need to reread it sometime. And the funny image of you rearranging your books on your NEW bookshelf made me chuckle. I don’t know if it’s a red head kind of thing, but I certainly have my share of distractions leading me hither and thither throughout any given day on the planet.

      I’m just happy to have thinkers and believers in magic like Mr. Tom Robbins. Cottage cheese and ketchup for sure.

      Warmly, BB

  2. dan Says:

    I don’t read blogs that have the word quixotically anywhere on them, however, I was stumbling around and for some reason found a picture of Tom Robbins that I had seen before and …

    Well, here we are. I’ll bang around here for a minute or two, and see what’s up. My guess is you are some sort of writer, that’s cool.

    Take care.

    • BB Webb Says:

      Hi Dan…..thanks for stopping in…..your reference to my use of quixotically made me chuckle. I used to make up words in high school, much to the chagrin of my English teacher.

      We do special events at Carl House….wedding, corporate events, private parties. Stop in should you travel south some day! BB

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