Tom Robbins: A Critical Companion

By Catherine E. Hoyser; Lorena Laura Stookey | Go to book overview

1

The Life of Tom Robbins

At five years old, Thomas Eugene Robbins was dictating stories to his mother and protesting vehemently if she dared change a word (Strelow 97). This early sense of the importance of precise language makes it unsurprising that he became a writer. Robbins still labors intensely on finding the exact combination of words to convey his ideas. Once he writes the words on a page, few will change during the subsequent editing. ‘‘The reason I write so slowly is because I try never to leave a sentence until it’s as perfect as I can make it…. So there isn’t a word in any of my books that hasn’t been gone over 40 times’’ (Egan, ‘‘Perfect’’ C9). When composing a text, Robbins works in his studio from 10:00 A.M. until 3:00 or so in the afternoon. The closer he is to the end of a novel, the shorter his work day becomes because of the sheer physical exhaustion of his writing process (Interview 1994; Edlin 42).

Contrary to the image some followers have of Tom Robbins, he is not a drugged-out comedian clinging to the 1960s. Robbins is intensely serious about writing, life, and creativity. His active imagination keeps him from becoming dismayed by the acuity with which he contemplates the world. Playfulness and wit rescue the earnest philosopher from depression over humanity’s inhumanity. Joy is his means of survival. One girlfriend once told him that ‘‘the trouble with you, Tom, is you have too much fun’’ (Rogers 68). A self-described shy person, Robbins claims he cannot express himself well orally. Indeed, many of his responses to

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Tom Robbins: A Critical Companion
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Advisory Board vi
  • Contents vii
  • Series Foreword ix
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • 1 - The Life of Tom Robbins 1
  • 2 - Context and Style 25
  • 3 - Another Roadside Attraction (1971) 43
  • 4 - Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (1976) 61
  • 5 - Still Life with Woodpecker (1980) 79
  • 6 - Jitterbug Perfume (1984) 99
  • 7 - Skinny Legs and All (1990) 119
  • 8 - Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas (1994) 139
  • Bibliography 157
  • Index 167
  • About the Authors 173
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