Reading Tom Robbins

 If one has a religious life, one can rationalize one's slide into the abyss; if one has a sense of humor (and a sense of humor, properly developed, is superior to any religion so far devised), one can minimalize it through irony and wit.

β€” Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume

I went through a severe Tom Robbins phase when I was in college (didn't everybody)? Jitterbug Perfume, Another Roadside Attraction, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, Still Life with Woodpecker, Skinny Legs and All, and maybe that's where I stopped; I remember something about that frog pajamas book turning me off right from the start, and I was more disappointed in myself than I was in him. I loved him then because I was young and idealistic, full of wild wishing and romantic hopes, and he was above all a rhapsodizer, his novels filled with magic and poetry, philosophy, politics, art, sex, randy old sages who knew the fate of the world, cheerleaders, waitresses, thumbs, whooping cranes, talking spoons and cans o' beans. He was a master of the anti-establishment oddball, people who stood just to the left of "normal," which I suppose is what made him so appealing: nobody was like anybody else, and yet every character was recognizable, and utterly human. Even if they were spoons. I haven't read him since '92, and remember very little plotwise, but perhaps it's time to try again. I think right now I need him.

To the extent that this world surrenders its richness and diversity, it surrenders its poetry. To the extent that it relinquishes its capacity to surprise, it relinquishes its magic. To the extent that it loses its ability to tolerate ridiculous and even dangerous exceptions, it loses its grace. As its options (no matter how absurd or unlikely) diminish, so do its chances for the future.

β€” Tom Robbins, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues