If you’ve read any of my previous reviews, you already know that Tom Robbins is one of my favorite American authors. His books are full of commentary on society and life, and he does an incredible job at making the reader smile (and sometimes even laugh out loud). Today, I’m going to highlight and discuss some of my favorite Even Cowgirls Get The Blues quotes.
From Part 1: Chapter 12
“When you grow up with somebody you just sort of accept them, even if they are odd.” – Betty Seward née Clanton
This is just what family is all about, isn’t it? We are all weird (or odd) in our own ways, but that weirdness is often what makes us unique and special. I’m sure some of my family members question some of my habits and choices, just as I sometimes question theirs. But when we accept these oddities they become more normal, and they become something that we can celebrate instead of look down upon.
From the Intro to Part 2
“…the Eskimos had fifty-two names for snow because it was important to them; there ought to be as many for love.” – Margaret Atwood
Some Eskimo names for snow (that I could find) include aqilokoq, which was used for “softly falling snow,” and piegnartoq, which was used for “snow that was good for driving the sled.” When we talk about love, what synonyms do we use? Do compassion, empathy, understanding, and respect all require love as well?
Some synonyms for love (courtesy of Thesaurus.com) include affection, devotion, and passion. Those are just a few, but they somehow don’t feel as powerful or meaningful as “love.” It sounds (to me) weird to say, “I am affected by you,” or “I am devoted to you,” or “I am passionate about you,” but is it all that different from “I love you?”
I loved this quote because I too believe that love should be as important to us as the snow was/is to the Eskimos. Love is more important than the career we choose, the house we own, the car we drive, and how much money we make annually. All things pale in comparison, which is why the Beatles famously wrote, “All You Need Is Love.”
From Part 3: Chapter 41
“Those same forces that drive a genius to create the things or ideas that entertain or enlighten us often gobble up so much of his personality that he has none left for the social graces, and the very act of creation requires such focused concentration that vast areas of knowledge may be completely overlooked.”
This quote embodies a theme that runs through much of Robbins’ literature; the theme of the socially-awkward genius. And I think he finds a lot of truth in the idea that many of the most creative, innovative, and intelligent individuals in history (and living today) might have been the “weird ones” in high school or college.
But when we come back to the first quote in this post, we can see how these themes are linked. It’s ok to be weird because sometimes it is the “weirdest” or “oddest” among us that wind up creating a new thing or idea that changes how the rest of us see the world. Weirdness is a quality that should be celebrated, and “social graces” might not be as important as we make them out to be.
From Part 4: Chapter 56
“She says the ability to bring life into the world puts a woman closer to the Divine Mystery of the universe than males are, and that her motherly feelings are what gives her her protective and peaceful qualities, thus accounting for what is best in her — and best in the human race.” – Bonanza Jellybean
This ability to bring life into the world may very well be something that I’ll never fully understand. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t be in awe of the ability and the intuition that so many amazing women possess. These “protective and peaceful qualities” are (in my opinion) in high-demand in the world today.
We need these qualities to break down barriers between countries, political parties, races, economic classes, and other categories of division that seek to separate us from the truth that we are all humans experiencing different facets of what I’ll call the “life experience” here on Earth.
When we can truly show compassion for, and interest in, people from different backgrounds and cultures than us, we can learn how to maximize the strengths of the whole. In doing this, there is no limit to the paradise we can create for ourselves and the happiness we can find in our lives.
From Part 4: Chapter 64
“When you’re in the saddle all day, you need something to do with your mouth besides sing “Yippee eye oh ki yea.” Usually it’s too hot and dry for singing, anyhow. You just end up with a throat full of dust.”
This quote is the opening paragraph of Chapter 64, and I like it because it illustrates Robbins’ humor and the fact that he often doesn’t seem to be taking his writing very seriously at all (of course, he could be, but how would I know?!). So many of his opening paragraphs start with these little jabs that make you snicker and smile. To me, this is one of my favorite qualities of Tom Robbins, because he has a gift for making reading a lot of fun.
From Part 5: Chapter 98
“It was in just such a posh cottage that Sissy waited for her new thumb to come out of the oven.”
The final quote I’d like to highlight illustrates the mystery that exists in so many of Robbins’ books. This mystery, he believes, is an essential part of the human experience. The fact that there is always something new to learn and something more to be discovered is a fundamental driver of humanity’s ‘quest’.
Has Sissy cut off her own thumb to cook in the oven? And what does he mean by “new” thumb? Has she really figured out a way to manufacture new thumbs because she’s run into some inscrutable, thumb-eating monster? I guess you’ll just have to read to find out!
Now it’s your opportunity to read and digest Even Cowgirls Get The Blues for yourself! While I hope you’ve enjoyed the quotes I pulled from it and highlighted here, this is by no means a complete review. If you’ve read this selection already, I’d love to know your thoughts, feelings, and what you took away from it.
Please leave a comment below if you are inspired, perplexed, saddened, or angered by any of the ideas presented above. I welcome any and all comments and will do my best to respond in a timely fashion.
I’d also encourage you to share this with others if you found it particularly insightful or helpful. Be sure to tag @ballisterwriting on Facebook or Instagram if you do! The point of social media, after all, is to be SOCIAL! I don’t need followers or likes, but I’d like to contribute to a real conversation about how we continue to improve as a society and as individuals.