AshEdit—News About Books & Writers

March 4, 2010

The Perfect Sentence by Tom Robbins

Filed under: Uncategorized — ashedit @ 7:45 am

“A ‘perfect’ sentence, if there is such a thing, ought to be both vivid and mysterious, lucid and unpredictable. Whether it shakes out like a bedsheet or rumbles like a locomotive, its cadence ought to reverberate in the mind’s ear with an unavoidable rhythm. Whether its images are designed to kiss the reader or spit in the reader’s face, they must be as fresh as new violets down by the hog creek, and they should be psychically charged. The sentence’s philosophical and psychological meaning ought to spread in ever widening ripples like an echo circle. And, ideally, when the subject meets the verb, the verb ought to yell out, “Surprise!” I don’t know if I’ve ever written a perfect sentence. It doesn’t matter. It’s the pursuit of the perfect sentence that’s the reward.”
–Tom Robbins

This wild ride of a paragraph was unearthed by the unstoppable Dale Kirby, Editor of The AFTRLife, a site devoted to best-selling author, Tom Robbins.

Whenever I read Robbins, I feel as though I’ve been shot full of inspiration. I come away with a new point of view. He not only shakes me up, he shakes up my writing. Any other Robbins fans out there? I look forward to comments.

Check out Tom and his work, as well as the avid and informed folks at AFTRLife here:



  1. I think his book Jitterbug perfume is a masterpiece. The opening of that is darn near perfect. I might even say it is. I think the best sentence I ever wrote was: “She had the lips that Satan dreamed of in his long fall to hell.”

    Comment by Charles Gramlich — March 4, 2010 @ 8:39 am

  2. Charles, how nice to hear from you. Yes, Jitterbug Perfume is grand. What do you love best about it?

    Skinny Legs and All is my all-time favorite. That NY city restaurant owned by an Arab and a Jew, partners, was such a brilliant set-up. And the belly dancer, Salome remember her? She had New York enthralled with her Dance of the Seven Veils.

    Comment by Elaine Ash — March 4, 2010 @ 9:54 am

  3. Hi Elaine,

    Thanks for the mention of our website. I only forwarded a query from Anonymous-9 to our enlightened up members of the aftrlife@yahoogroups discussion group. Salakis4 and Marjorie/Gabrielle came both came up with excellent quotes.

    I’ve been running the Robbins fansite since 1994 so I guess I like him pretty good. 🙂


    Comment by Dale Kirby — March 4, 2010 @ 3:05 pm

  4. Hi David! Yes, A-9 thought it a pretty good quote and asked if I would like to share it with readers. She also said finding the quote was like searching for a needle in a haystack, so you folks did a great job! Your dedication to Tom is amazing and he is so lucky to have fans like you.

    Comment by Elaine Ash — March 4, 2010 @ 3:32 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: