Tom Robbins

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Tom Robbins

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“Does the moon have a purpose?” she inquired of Prince Charming.
Prince Charming pretended that she had asked a silly question. Perhaps she had. The same query put to the Remington SL3 elicited this response:
Albert Camus wrote that the only serious question is whether to kill yourself or not.
Tom Robbins wrote that the only serious question is whether time has a beginning and an end.
Camus clearly got up on the wrong side of the bed and Robbins must have forgotten to set his alarm.

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Since moving to New York, she had been gradually abandoning her old ideas about the nobility of suffering. The more suffering she witnessed — and the New York art world was wormy with it — the less she subscribed to it. Some pain comes with the territory, of course, but most suffering artists were narcissists, she was starting to believe.

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Love is the ultimate outlaw. It just won’t adhere to any rules. The most any of us can do is to sign on as its accomplice. Instead of vowing to honor and obey, maybe we should swear to aid and abet. That would mean that security is out of the question. The words “make” and “stay” become inappropriate. My love for you has no strings attached. I love you for free.

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…to emphasize the afterlife is to deny life. To concentrate on Heaven is to create hell. In their desperate longing to transcend the disorderliness, friction, and unpredictability that pesters life; in their desire for a fresh start in a tidy habitat, germ-free and secured by angels, religious multitudes are gambling the only life they may ever have on a dark horse in a race that has no finish line.

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She moved on to the acryllic department. Now came the fun part. Without regard to price, she began to pull jumbo jars of paint from the shelves. And, burping all the while, her esophagus smoldering like a soggy fuse, she chanted the names of the colors as she dropped them into her basket.

‘Indian red,’ she sang. ‘Mars red, venetian red, cadmium red, vermilion, and rose madder.’ There was alizarin crimson, magenta, and that thorn in the backside of the sinful, sister terra rosa.

There was cobalt blue, cerulean blue, pressian blue, ultramarine blue, and, with just a soupcon of garlic, french ultramarine blue.

‘Hansa yellow.’ She liked the sound of that one so well she sang it twice. ‘Hansa yello’ (patron saint of jaundiced piano players). then, ‘zinc yellow, lemon yellow, yellow ocher, mars yellow, naples yellow, and brilliant orange.

‘Thio violet, prism violet, mars violet, cobalt violet, dioxazine purple.’

Next, those nightmares of newlywed homemakers, raw sienna and burnt sienna. (‘He likes his medium rare, boo-hoo.’) Raw umber and burnt umber (‘There, there, dear, we’ll send out for pizza.’), van-dyke brown, brown madder, thalo copper, silver, gold oxide, and payne’s gray.

‘Viridian, o viridian! Freen earth, cadmium green, hooker’s green’ (protectress of novice prostitutes) ‘and sap green’ (patron saint of voters who believe all Irish-American politicians are honest).

‘O sing, mars black, lamp black, ivory black, and titanium white’ (blessed are the Caucasians who went down with the ship). ‘Sing iridescent white and light portrait pink.’

What did she forget? Lily white, basic black, snow white, black beauty, white christmas, black friday, white supremacy, black power, the color purple, people-eater purple, the color of money, long green, lawn green, lorne green, Lohengrin, the color of your parachute, the color of my true love’s hair, puce, mars puce, mars chartreuse, mars bars, little-boy blue, blue bayou, blues in the night, paint-the-town red, do-it-up brown, james brown, dorian gray, red skelton, red october, tom clancy red, better-dead-than red, better-ill-than teal, greenberg, goldberg, long-john silver, mellow yellow, electrical banana, yellow peril, yellow fever, mayonnaise yellow, mustard, relish, and onions.

Ellen Cherry’s head was spinning. She felt dizzy and faint. She should have known better than to mix rum and art supplies.

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Modern Romans insisted that there was only one god, a notion that struck Alobar as comically simplistic. Worse, this Semitic deity was reputed to be jealous (who was there to be jealous of if there were no other gods?), vindictive, and altogether foul-tempered. If you didn’t serve the nasty fellow, the Romans would burn your house down. If you did serve him, you were called a Christian and got to burn other people’s houses down. There was a long list of enjoyable things that Christians could not do, however, including keeping more than one wife.

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Leaning her forehead against the scummy rim of the sink, Priscilla suddenly wept. She continued weeping until the heat of her tear water, the sheer velocity of its flow, finally obscured the already vague circumstances of its origins. Then, as memory after memory relinquished its sharp focus, and even fatigue and loneliness proved water soluble, she shut her tear ducts with an almost audible resolve.

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