You'll never learn anything truthful about me on the Net. – Tom Robbins

Tom Robbins has a grasp on things that dazzles the brain and he's also a world-class storyteller.Thomas Pynchon.

That is powerful praise from one of modern literature's greatest writers to another. Since the release of his first novel, Another Roadside Attraction, 1971, Tom Robbins has become one of the best-loved Modern American novelists. With a quirky, psychedelic style, and a strong notion for the absurd, Robbins has captivated readers in his seven novels to date. His sense of humor and thought provoking philosophies will have most readers captivated.


I know far too much about Norman Mailer and Kurt Vonnegut. Because I know as much as I do about their personal lives, I can't read their work without this interjecting itself. So if I had it to do over, I'd probably go the way of J.D. Salinger or Thomas Pynchon. And just stay out of it altogether and let all the focus be on the work itself and not on me. – Tom Robbins.

Tom Robbins was allegedly born in Blowing Rock, North Carolina on July 22, 1936. By the age of five, he had taught himself to read, and was already writing stories. After moving several times, in North Carolina and Virginia, he allegedly worked at the Barnes and Beers Traveling Circus when he was 11. He later went to Hargrove Military Academy.

At 18, Robbins went to Washington and Lee University to study Journalism. He only lasted for two years before he left. While he was there, he got kicked out of his fraternity for throwing biscuits at his housemother. When he left school, in 1956, he hitchhiked around the country for a year, after which he moved to New York City to be a poet.

Shortly thereafter, however, Robbins received a draft notice, and off to Korea he went. He spent three years during the Korean War in the Air Force as a meteorologist. While overseas, he took courses in Tokyo in Japanese aesthetics and culture.

Upon returning to the US, Robbins began working as a copy editor at the Richmond Times-Dispatch. While there, he enrolled at the Richmond Professional Institute. He was the editor of Proscript, the school's student newspaper and wrote columns called Walks on the Wild Side & The Robbins Nest. He graduated from the school in 1961

In 1962, Robbins moved to Seattle, in a move that would forever affect his writing, as the city would play a major role in several of his books. He eventually got a job writing headlines for Dear Abby. He also enrolled in the Graduate School of Far Eastern Studies at University of Washington.

While at UW, he took a field trip with author Joseph Campbell to South America and became a feature editor and art critic at the Seattle Times.

On July 19, 1963, Robbins used LSD for the first time. This, like his move to Seattle would color all future writings.

In 1964, Robbins moved to Greenwich Village in New York City. He met both Timothy Leary and Allen Ginsburg while in Manhattan. He participated with Ginsburg in a march for the legalization of marijuana, and attended a lecture by Timothy Leary. He would later become good friends with Leary.

In 1965, Robbins moved to San Francisco for a short while and then moved back to Seattle where he worked for a while as a disk jockey. On July 23, 1967, Robbins developed his writing style while writing a review of a Doors concert he saw that day.

Luther Nichols, an editor for Doubleday, contacted Robbins in 1968 about writing an art book. Instead, Robbins pitched Nichols his idea for Another Roadside Attraction. Which would eventually be his first novel. However, after failing to get much work done for a year, Robbins moved to South Bend, Washington (with a $2,500 advance). Over the next two years, Robbins got the creative juices flowing, and in 1971, Another Roadside Attraction was published.

Not long thereafter he began working on Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, which would eventually be published in 1976. A year later, when Elvis Presley died of an overdose in his bathroom on August 16, 1977, there was rumored to be a copy of Another Roadside Attraction on the floor beside him.

Still Life with Woodpecker was published in 1980, and was followed by Jitterbug Perfume in 1984. In 1987, Robbins played the role of the toy maker in movie, Made in Heaven. Skinny Legs and All came out in 1990

Not much later, Robbins took a trip to Timbuktu, which would play heavily in his next novel, Half Asleep In Frog Pajamas, released in 1994. Half Asleep would hit the New York Times Best Seller List in 1995. Later in 1994, Robbins was in the film Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle.

In 1996, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues was released as a film, directed by Gus Van Sant, who also adapted the novel to a screenplay. The cast was made up of several stars including: Uma Thurman, Lorraine Bracco, Pat Morita, Angie Dickinson, Keanu Reeves, John Hurt, Ed Begley Jr., Sean Young, Crispin Glover, Roseanne, Ken Kesey, Heather Graham, William S. Burroughs, River Phoenix, and Tom Robbins himself as the narrator.

On May 2, 2000, Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates was published and hit the best-seller lists almost immediately.

His Books (listed neatly):

Selected quotes (from an interview):

I'm not an animal, I'm a zoo.

Reality is contradictory. And it's paradoxical. If there's any one word -- if you had to pick one word to describe the nature of the universe -- I think that word would be paradox. That's true at the subatomic level, right through sociological, psychological, philosophical levels on up to cosmic levels.

To say that you can't take life seriously and that life shouldn't be taken seriously is not to say that life is trivial or frivolous. Quite the contrary. There's nothing the least bit frivolous about the playful nature of the universe. Playfulness at a fully conscious level is extremely profound. In fact there is nothing more profound. Wit and playfulness are dreadfully serious transcendence of evil.

One of the influences on my work is a popular song by Frank Sinatra. "I've Got You Under My Skin." Because he sings from the point of view of a man who is absolutely, obsessively in love.

Timothy Leary told me that when he was in Folsom Prison -- he had never heard of me, at the time -- Sonny Barger, who was the president of the California Hell's Angels came up to him and handed him Another Roadside Attraction and said: {he speaks in a gruff tone befitting an Angels president} Read this. It's the Angels' favorite book. For a long time I thought: Well, if I've got Elvis and the Hell's Angels on my side, who cares about The New York Review of Books.

'My view of the world is not that different from Kafka's, really. The difference is that Kafka let it make him miserable and I refuse. Life is too short.'

Judeoslav wrote:
An interesting note about Tom Robbins' writing style: Before he starts writing, he's got the story outlined, and all he does is write about half a page a day, painstakingly selecting each word and never, ever, editing after he's written something down. Impressive.

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