Tom Robbins

“Soul is hot and heavy

Spirit is cool, abstract, detached

Soul is connected to the earth and it’s waters.

Spirit is connected to the sky and gases.  Out of the gases springs fire”

-Skinny Legs and All



“To live fully, one must be free, but to be free one must give up security.  Therefore, to live, one must be ready to die.”


“Heaven is living in your hopes and Hell is living in your fears.  It’s up to each individual which one he chooses.”


“Growing up is like a trap.  When they tell you to shut up, they mean stop talking.  When they tell you to grow up, they mean stop growing”


“Mr. Gitche has pulled his wife away from the edge and into the center.  In here with the rest of us.  I don’t mind the center.  It’s big and mysterious and ambiguous- perhaps as exhilarating in its soft shifting complexity as the edge is exhilarating in its hard, stark terminations.  But the center can also be a harmful place for one who has lived so long on the edge.”


“It was 2 minutes on the tequila side of sunrise”

-Even Cowgirls Get the Blues


“The principle difference between an adventurer and a suicide is that the adventurer leaves himself a margin of escape (the narrower the margin, the greater the adventure), a margin whose width and length may be determined by unknown factors but whose successful navigation is determined by the measure of the adventurer’s nerve and wits.”


p175, italic


“What has marriage got to do with it?  I married J.P. because I’m knocked out by his style.  Because I love him and respect him and enjoy the transformations that take place as a result of our sharing the same dimensions.  But Marx, marriage is not a synonym for monogamy any more than monogamy is a symbol for ideal love.  To live lightly on the earth, lovers and families must be more flexible and relaxed.  The rituals of sex releases its magic inside or outside the marital bond… As for J.P. and me, a strange spurt of semen is not going to wash our love away.”


“You risked your life, but what else have you risked?  Have you risked disapproval?  Have you risked economic security?  Have you ever risked a belief?  I see nothing particularly courageous in risking one’s life.  So you lose it, you go up to your hero’s heaven and everything is milk and honey ’til the end of time.  Right?  You get your reward and suffer no earthly consequences.  That’s not courage.  Real courage is risking something you have to keep on living with, real courage is risking something that might force you to rethink your thoughts and suffer change and stretch courage.  Real courage is risking one’s cliches.”


“If I should die before I wake. Until I learned that macabre line, it had never occurred to me that one morning I might not get up to play.”


“He took my radio but he left the music.”

-Another Roadside Attraction


“Now that I’m in love, I haven’t a clue.  Now that I’m in love, I’m completely stupid on the subject.”


“When we’re incomplete, we’re always searching for somebody to complete us.  When, after a few years or a few months of a relationship, we find that we’re still unfulfilled, we blame our partners and take up with somebody more promising.  This can go on and on- series polygamy- until we admit that while our partner can add sweet dimensions to our lives, we, each of us, are responsible for our own fulfillment.  Nobody else can provide it for us, and to believe otherwise is to delude ourselves dangerously and to program for eventual failure every relationship we enter.”


“Objects smaller than the human body possess the quality of privateness.  The larger the object, the less private and more public its mode.”


“But having acquired a taste for solitude, each of them spent days separate and alone, Leigh-Cheri in the attic, Bernard in the pantry.  Funny how we think of romance as always involving two, when the romance of solitude can be ever so much more delicious and intense.  Alone, the world offers itself freely to us.  To be unmasked, it has no choice.”


“When the mystery of the connection goes, love goes.  It’s that simple.  This suggests that it isn’t love that is so important to us but the mystery itself.  The love connection maybe merely a device to put us in contact with the mystery, and we long for love to last so that the ecstasy of being near the mystery will last.  It is contrary to the nature of mystery to stand still.  Yet it’s always there, somewhere, a world on the other side of the mirror, a promise in the next pair of eyes, that smile at us.  We glimpse it when we stand still.”




“It’s a fact some men conceal the greater part of their personality between their legs.”


“Someday, even the “call of nature” will be answered by a machine.”


“. . .before you brave that final pee of the day and the name that it surely will sing in the bowl.”


“Ah!  No sweetness like the sweetness of smooth, clean sheets. No protection quite so arrowproof as a fluffy quilt.”


“. . .like a priest who’s heard the confessions of a dormitory of hormone-laden schoolgirls.”


“. . .and the sun is ghastly, too, its blazing oceans of nuclear radiation, no match for the spew of thousands of little Japanese cars.”


“Don’t breathe this air, you don’t know where it’s been.”


“The sunbeams, cameras around their necks, immediately form a line to get into your navel.”


“Salvador Dali and fifty cents will get you a cup of clock melt.”


“‘Tarot with a stranger is kinda like a one night stand,” she explains.  “It’s usually both more dangerous and more honest than sex with a partner you love.’“


“‘You are so nervous, your nipples are vibrating.’“


“Why aren’t we as smart when we wake up as we are in our dreams?”


“‘Manufacturers claim that the ovoid shape maximizes aerodynamics efficiency, but if that is true, how come a bird has to break out of the egg before it can fly?”


“You watch the raindrops wriggle like daydreaming tadpoles down the pane.”


“If they were mutated by contamination, they wear it well.”


“Dreams don’t come true.  Dreams are true.”


Fish-“Pornographically scented”


“Your shortish but shapely legs transport the unmade bed of your heart.”


“Like a rice farmer in an upside-down paddy, you stand amidst the self-harvesting stalks of the rain.”


“Vanity has blocked your path to the optometrist.”


“…the president is poised to address that ever shrinking portion of the population that isn’t actively engaged in panhandling, smoking crack cocaine, or bowling.”


“If it was a crime collecting pay for a job you’re not good at, half the country’d be eating jail chow.”


“. . .but though the red lanterns of lust blink continually from the marquee of his personality, he is not given to slicky or flattery or Latin Lover Lines.”


“Like pigeon racing, telephone tag is a sport with no spectators.”


“People do not get heavy with wisdom.  They get light.  The wiser you become, the lighter you become.”


“. . .to hear what lemmings say to one another as they go over the cliff.”


“You are not a helium head.”


“‘If you was to eat dog shit and then you shit it out, would you have dog shit or human shit?’“


“‘Disaster’s always best when it’s on a grand scale.’“


“…comes to us from a level beyond the reach of reason.”


“Imagination creates reality.”


“She has an attention span longer than a Mormon’s orgasm.”


“Smarten up.  Just because you’ve got the cutest ass west of Chicago, and north of L.A. doesn’t mean that you have to go around with your head up it.”


“Unlike the helter skelter garden hose of its male counterpart.”


“…for the sun is shinnying up the eastern quadrant faster than a Peeping Tom up a sorority house drain pipe.”


“How badly do you feel about it?  Not badly enough to confess and apologize.”


“The kiss sack that you call your lower lip.”


“If everything’s the same, evolution stops.”


“‘Do you have an alcohol problem?”

“Of course. Every person who drink alcohol have problem.  That why alcohol so popular.  Make new problem for your entertainment.’“


“Most people are scared of those things that don’t sit still and pose for your official portrait of reality which means they have a hell of alot to be scared about.  I suppose that’s why they’re careful not to look very far in any direction.”


“‘Future?  Oh, I get it.  You mean you don’t foresee a pot of gold at the end of your juicy rainbow. You mean that our intimacy isn’t likely to yield a dividend.  You disappoint me, Gwendolyn. I hoped you might have a watt or two more light in your bulb than those poor toads who look on romance as an investment, like waterfront property or municipal bonds.  Would you complain because a beautiful sunset doesn’t have a future or a shooting star a payoff?  And why should romance lead somewhere?  Passion isn’t a path through the woods.  Passion is the woods.  It’s the deepest, wildest part of the forest; the grove where the fairies still dance and old vipers snooze in the boughs.  Everybody but…’“


“Now, as for attraction, the instant I first saw you, my dear, I wanted to open your legs like a checking account at the bank that doesn’t charge for overdraft.  And believe it or not, I wanted to open your mind as well…You’re like a handsome, expensive television set that can only bring in 2 or 3 channels.  I want to hook you to cable, sweetheart.  I want to be your satellite dish.”


“Your eyeball is like a grape being forced into a peashooter.”


“Belford sounds so low he would have to stand on a ladder to change a bulb in a flashlight.”


“In the beginning was the thing.  And one thing has led to another.”


“…cerebral gem tumbler.”


“Swallow the leader.”


“Conventional scientists wouldn’t touch that problem with a ten foot grant.”


“Is Diamond actually on to something significant, or has his brain been bungee-jumping off a piano stool?”


“If global warming melts the polar ice caps, as some predict, we will have little choice in our resumption of an aquatic lifestyle.”


“He rips you with his eyes, then hobbles away.”


“We, in our propensity for murder, torture, slavery, rape, cannibalism, pillage, advertising jingles, shag carpets, ad golf, how could we be seriously as the perfection of a four-billion year old experiment?  Perhaps as a race, we have evolved as far as we are capable, yet that by no means suggests that evolution has called it quits.”


“…evolution has suffered a premature ejaculation.”


“You give him a generic pret-a-porter smooch…”


“Minds are made for blowing.”


“Risk is part of the process.”


“As noiselessly as a paraplegic cricket.”


“Walking away from a regular paycheck, a big fat regular paycheck, as if a regular paycheck were no more than a bad habit.”


“You can connive to improve your life within the existing boundaries of your life, or you expand your life; maybe even transform your life.”


“Belford’s breath is behaving if his lungs were overweight farmboys trying to squeeze through the strands of a barb-wired fence.”


“Heaving like a garden tractor, Belford busts the sods of your guilt.”


“Vindication is merely revenge without the mustard.  Liberation on the other hand, liberation is a front so big that the only back that can match it is death, and even death may not be a perfect fit.”


“A collision is merely what you do need, because collisions are transformative.  A relationship can occasionally fulfill a person, but only a collision can transform them. It’s the same for cultures as it is for individuals.”


“He’s not really a fighter.  He’s an adventurer.  That’s the difference.  He doesn’t attack, he engages; he doesn’t defend, he expands; he doesn’t destroy, he transforms; he doesn’t reject, he transforms.”


“Those who aren’t really incapacitated are suffering from a decay of the spirit.”


“No matter how much others might love you, you can’t love yourself unless you’re in charge of your own actions, and you’ll never take charge as long as you can get away with blaming your shortcomings and misfortunes on your family or society or your race or gender or Satan or whatever.”


“…who can jimmy the lock on your dreams.”


“Before your rational mind can get its pants on…”


“Love makes the world go ’round, it’s true, but lust stops the world in its tracks; love renders bearable the passage of time, lust causes time to stand still, lust kills time, which is not to say that it wastes it or whiles it aimlessly away but rather that it annihilates it, cancels it, extirpates it from continuum; preventing, while lasts, any lapse into the tense and shabby woes of temporal society, lust is the thousand-pound odometer needle on the dashboard of the absolute.”


“The world is a comedy to those who think, a tragedy to those who feel.  Extrapolating, we can say, then, that to the whole person, the person with a balanced view, the world is a tragicomedy.”


“‘These people aren’t performing, for God’s sake. Their misery is real.”

“Everyone’s performing.  We only think it’s real.’“


“‘The Lie of progress.  The lie of unlimited expansion.  The Lie of ‘grow or perish’.  Listen.  We built ourselves a fine commercial bonfire, but then instead of basking in its warmth, toasting marshmallows over it, and reading the classics by its light, we became obsessed with making it bigger and hotter, bigger and hotter, until the flames didn’t leap higher from one quarter to the next, it was cause for great worry and dissatisfaction… Nature has always set limits on growth; limits on the physical size of individual species, limits on the size of populations.  Did he really believe capitalism was exempt from the laws of nature?’“


“‘In English, there is a quaint expression, “making good time”, a colloquialism that if taken literally implies that time is something that can be crafted or manufactured, and either poorly so or else expertly. . . Moreover, the “better” time we make, which is to say, the faster we go, the less time there is, so that “by the time” we reach the speed of light, there is no more time at all, indicating, perhaps, that only good time is a dead time.”


“‘Abundance in all things- material, emotional, intellectual, spiritual- is the goal of any first rate soul.  But into which of these categories does money fit?  Automatically you say “material”.  Uncle Larry disagrees.  Uncle Larry says “spiritual”.  Money may be our greatest spiritual teacher.  More edifying than a stadium full of swamis.  Nothing can knock a pilgrim off the path as fast as money.  That’s the job of a spiritual teacher, you know.  Not to hold us on the path, but to knock us off of it.  Until we can stay on the path without ever being knocked- or tempted- off, until we can resist the teacher’s carrot and withstand his rod, our transformative journey can be little more than fits and starts.”


“…the Ice Capades will be touring Hell.”


“Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas”-T.Robbins




“At first light, ere a rooster had reached the doodle part of his cock-a-doodle-doo…”


“Birth and death were easy.  It was the life that is hard.”


“Outdoors, the snow was piled halfway to the Big Dipper…”


“…the hall had grown silent as the gills of a fossil.”


“Frankly, I do not like the way that death does business.”


“‘Existence can be rearranged.  A man can be many things. “I am special and free.’“


“All dreams continue in the beyond.”


“The warm sunlight gave him a lazy, comfortable, lie-around-all-morning-and-scratch-your-armpits feeling…”


“‘You are a god.  Are not gods immortal?”

“Not quite.  True, we are immune to the chills and accidents that swallow up humanity, but gods can die.  We live only as long as people believe in us.’“


“‘For you, sir, may the jaws of death have cotton teeth.”


“‘…a wineskin in one fist, an erection in the other.”


“You misunderstand me.  I do not fear death.  I resent it. Everything must die, apparently, and I am no exception.  But I want to be consulted.  You know what I mean?  Death is impatient and thoughtless.  It barges into your room when you are right in the middle of something, and it doesn’t bother to wipe its boots.  I have a new passion, my darlings, a passion for being myself, and for being more than previously has been manifested for a single lifetime.  I am determined to die at my own convenience.”


“…but the length of the cheerleader skirt remains constant, and is upon that abbreviated standard that I base my currency of joy.”


“She was not a joiner.  “The only organization I ever joined in my life was the Columbia Record Club,” she declared, “and I had to get out of that because it was too disciplined.”


“‘Real and unreal, beautiful and strange, like a dream.  It got me as high as a kite, but it didn’t last long enough.  It ended too soon and left nothing behind.”


“‘That’s how it is with dreams,” said Priscilla. “They’re the perfect crime.’“


“Louisiana in September was like an obscene call from nature…The only way to hang up on the obscene caller was to install air conditioning.”


“As they say in her country, it is easier to scratch your ass than your heart.”


“It bothered Alobar, philosophically, that the dead invariably seemed more self-possessed than the living.”


“Death is release.”


“…but this was one smile that didn’t scare easily, it hung there like a tenant who knows his rights and refuses to be evicted.”


“The mountains looked like the white picket fence around the cottage of eternity.”


“‘I made a vow.  If we mortals can better the gods in no other way, we can at least keep our promises.’“


“‘Here they teach that much of existence amounts only to misery; that misery is caused by desire; therefore, if desire is eliminated, then misery will be eliminated…How can you respect that sort of weakness, how can you admire a human who consciously embraces the bland, the mediocre, and the safe rather than risk the suffering that disappointments can bring?’“


“If desire causes suffering, it may be because we do not desire wisely, or that we are inexpert at obtaining what we desire.”


“‘The lamas declare that they have no fear of death, yet it is anything less than feat that causes them to die before they die?  In order to tame death, they refuse to completely enjoy life.  In rejecting complete enjoyment, they are half-dead in advance.”


“‘If the earth needs night as well as day, wouldn’t it follow that the soul requires endarkenment to balance enlightenment?”


“You need only open your mouth not your mind, she thought.”


“The word desire suggests that there is something that we do not have.  If we have everything already, then there is no desire, for there is nothing left to want.  I think that the Buddha may have been trying to tell us that we have it all, each of us, all the time; therefore, desire is simply unnecessary.  To eliminate the agitation and disappointment of desire, we need but awaken to the fact that we have everything that we want and need right now.”


“When dawn finally came, it was only a stain in the sky.”


“A bartender’s beauty is in his moves.  Like a lover’s, like a matador’s.  The finished product means little: a spent orgasm, a dead bull.”


“A tall man, shoulders only slightly rounded by seventy years of nagging gravity.”


“The highest function of love is that it makes the loved one a unique and irreplaceable being.”


“‘It is so quiet out here I can hear my ears,” and he shot back, “If your nose were your ears, the noise would be deafening.”


“Then she realized with a shock that she was so wet that children could have sailed toy boats in her underpants.”


“‘I used to be king over a state, but now I am king over myself.’“


“‘Bones are patient.  Bones never tire nor do they run away. When you come upon a man who has been dead many years, his bones will still be lying there, in place, content, patiently waiting, but his flesh will have gotten up and left him.  Water is like flesh.  Water will not stand still.  It is always off to somewhere else; restless, talkative, and curious.  Even water in a covered jar will disappear in time.  Flesh is water.  Stones are like bones.  Satisfied.  Patient.  Dependable.  Tell me then, Alobar, in order to achieve immortality, should we emulate water or stone?  Should we trust your flesh or your bones?’“


“The spirit of one individual can supersede and dismiss the entire clockworks of history.”


“‘Well, there’s one thing to be said about money.  It can make you rich.’“


“‘…if I am not man enough to ask you for the teeniest, slightest brush of oral-muscular affection.’“


“…she walked around with her lower lip sticking out so far that she could have eaten tomatoes through a tennis racket.”


“Upon hearing his cousin’s voice, Claude LeFever’s hand had gone as stiff as Medusa’s optometrist.”


“‘Squeezed from the reproductive glands of plants and creatures, perfume is the smell of creation, a sign dramatically delivered to our senses of the Earth’s regenerative powers- a message of hope and a message of power.’“


“Did they imagine that the dying Einstein suddenly pulled himself up in bed and uttered, “E equals MC cubed”?

Did they think that he mumbled, “Der perfekt Tako”?’“


[They were driving] “so slow that if they fell off a cliff he’d be going ten miles an hour.”


“It was a mess.  And not just a common two-plus-two-equals-four mess.  Einstein’s office was a genius equation mess.”


“‘Good taste is death.  Vulgarity is life.’“


“‘I should have sewn more zippers into me garments, for I have many erogenous zones that require speedy access.”


“‘…and rain tapped messages in Morse code against the window panes.”


“He’d had more fun than an electric eel in a public bath.”


“Aging was so rapid and death so final that ultimately they robbed life of any meaning.”


“‘The universe does not have laws.

“It has habits.

“And habits can be broken.’“


About drugs: “‘…and they destroyed some cells, no doubt about it, but ’twas for the good.  If you want your tree to produce fruit o’ plenty, you’ve got to cut it back from time to time.  Same thing with neural cells.  Some people call it brain damage.  I call it pruning.’“


“‘There’s where you’re as wrong as garters on a nun.’“


“‘Does a koala-bear poop smell like cough drops?’“


“…but this one took the cake, and the coffee, too.”


“Puddles dried before her eyes and she could practically hear the pavement drying.”


“Hook them up like sausages.”


“Her tears threatened to refill the puddles that the unseasonal November sunshine had been evaporating.”


“…the toilet sounded like the audio portion of a white-water rafting expedition.”


“‘Love, little darlin’, defies the laws o’ physics.  Or, rather, it breaks the habits.’“


“‘One last thing about death,” said Wiggs…”After you die, your hair and nails continue to grow.”

“I’ve heard that.”

“Yes.  But your phone calls taper off.’“


“…a heroic belt of the manager’s bourbon.”


“At birth, we emerge from the dream soup.At death, we sink back into the dream soup.  In between soups, there is a crossing of dry land.  Life is a portage.”


“‘Don’t you know that when you die, your soul stops leaving your body?”

“Uh, no.  What do you mean?”

“Our souls are leaving our bodies all the time, silly.  That’s what energy is all about.”

“You mean the field around our bodies is the soul being broadcast out of the body?”

“Kinda like that.’“


“They say that February is the shortest month, but you know they could be wrong.”


“Valentine’s day: “He or she is lucky enough to have a lover in frigid, antsy February has cause for celebration, indeed.”


“‘I used to weave rope, now I weave my own world.’“


“‘We gods know how to use our powers, but most men and women do not know how, that be the difference between us and thee.’”


“‘If wild animals could talk, would they sound like cartoons?’“


“‘How do you know for sure?”  Six words weighing in at a ton, not including punctuation.’“


“I wager that death be a million times more boring than life.”


“A couple’s first quarrel is Cupid’s laxative.”


“There is no death.  There is only different levels of life.”


“…falling immediately into wife-infested slumber.”


“…while Ricki the bartender has defined the Four Elements as cocaine, champagne, pussy and chocolate.”


“‘Live by the heart if you would live forever.”


“‘Meet me in Cognito, baby.  In Cognito, we’ll have nothing to hide.”


“It is the feeling of being outside of time, of being timeless, that is the source of ecstasy in meditation, chanting, hypnosis, and psychedelic drug experiences.  Although the feeling of it is briefer and less lucid, a timeless, egoless state (the ego exists in time, not space) is achieved in sexual orgasm, which is precisely why orgasm feel so good.”


“Since all matter is condensed light, light is the source, the cause of life.  Therefore, light is divine.  The flowers have a direct line to God that an evangelist would kill for.”


“Material things anchor one in life much more firmly than purists would like to believe.”


“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have known all along that it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek.”


“Customers still complaining that there’re only nine hundred islands in their thousand island dressing.”


“Death is as orderly as life is disorderly.”


“Teachers who offer you the ultimate answers do not possess the ultimate answers, for if they did, they would know that the ultimate answers cannot be given, they can only be received.”


“Jitterbug Perfume”