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Nature abhors a vacuum, however, and over time the crater is almost certain to fill in with new wisdom--or fresh folly. Sometimes it can be a challenge to tell the difference.
If I have been given any gift in this life, it's my ability to live simultaneously in the rational world and the world of imagination. I'm in my eighties now, and if there is one thing of which I am most proud, it's that I have permitted no authority (neither civilian nor military, neither institutional nor societal) to relieve me--by means of force, coercion, or ridicule--of that gift. From the beginning, imagination has been my wild card, my skeleton key, my servant, my master, my bat cave, my home entertainment center, my flotation device, my syrup of wahoo; and I plan to stick with it to the end, whenever and however that end might come, and whether or not there is another act to follow.
Ironically, the quest for aliveness can sometimes put one in closer proximity to death, whether one is barreling down a crocodile-infested African river or asphyxiating in glittery Hollywood on a mouthful of Revlon cologne.
Evidently, I'd suffered an epiphany: the subconscious realization that when it comes to coolness, nothing the human race has ever invented is more cool than a book. I still believe that today. To quote another famous painter, this time Robert Motherwell, "The best toys are made of paper."
...at that juncture in my life I wasn't evolved enough to understand the fluid nature of romantic love (its indifference to human cravings for permanence and certainty); its uncivilized, undomesticated nature (less like a pretty melody than a foxish barking at the moon), or, more importantly perhaps, that it's a privilege to love someone, to truly love them; and while it's paradisiacal if she or he loves you back, it's unfair to demand or expect reciprocity.
The term "legendary," like many another superlative or word denoting singularity or extreme excellence (not to mention wonder or marvel), has been in modern times so excessively and undeservedly employed by advertisers, media hacks, and the barely literate masses that it has lost much of its impact and nearly all of its meaning.
Love is the only game in which we win even when we lose.
One morning when I was six, I awoke to find it spring. When I'd fallen asleep it was winter still, but sometime during the night, like a tipsy debutante sneaking home late from a ball, her hair undone, her green gown billowing, a song in her heart and a dreamy yet defiant smile on her face, spring had returned to Blowing Rock.
At the meeting of our lips, peacocks went into hiding, elephants suffered memory loss, camels developed a maddening thirst, and dinosaurs long thought to be extinct turned up on the evening news.
The line separating tragedy from comedy is broader, deeper, more jagged, although neither as fixed nor as problematic as the one between life and death; and it's those more glaring oppositions, including desire versus rejection, success versus failure, and especially, "good" versus "evil" that generally engage practitioners of the narrative arts. From my perspective, however, the most fascinating and perhaps most significant of all interfaces is the one that separates yet connects the ridiculous and the sublime. The surprisingly narrow borderline between things holy and things profane, between prayer and laughter, between a Leonardo chalice and Warhol soup can, between the Clear Light and the joke, provides a zone of meaning as exhilarating as it is heretical: a whisper of psychic release so acutely yet weirdly portentous it just might offer a clue to the mystery of being.
...one should never operate under the illusion that one can always live out one's wildest fantasies with impunity. One must be willing to be charged a high price.
News: Tom's most recent book "Tibetan Peach Pie: A True Account of an Imaginative Life" (a memoir of sorts) was released in May 2014.
What follows is an excerpt from the blurb from amazon.com.
Internationally bestselling novelist and American icon Tom Robbins delivers the long awaited tale of his wild life and times, both at home and around the globe.
Tom Robbins’ warm, wise, and wonderfully weird novels — including Still Life With Woodpecker, Jitterbug Perfume, and Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates — provide an entryway into the frontier of his singular imagination. Madcap but sincere, pulsating with strong social and philosophical undercurrents, his irreverent classics have introduced countless readers to natural born hitchhiking cowgirls, born-again monkeys, a philosophizing can of beans, exiled royalty, and problematic redheads.
In Tibetan Peach Pie, Robbins turns that unparalleled literary sensibility inward,... Read more...