Fierce Invalids Question #22 - Way too Vivid

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Fierce Invalids Question #22 - Way too Vivid

Unread postby Liz » Mon Jan 24, 2005 6:51 am

“Switters is a man obsessed with innocence. As part of that obsession, he doesn't like things that teem. He finds them undignified and kind of creepy. So when he is speaking of things being too vivid, that's what he's talking about. Things being out of control in a mindless way. I mean, he's certainly not a control freak. Quite the opposite. He is the ultimate believer in freedom to the point where he believes that even believing anything is a threat to freedom. But he doesn't like all this mindless squirming and itching and breeding that you find in some aspects of nature.” ~ Tom Robbins from the January Magazine Interview.

What did you think of Robbins’s* use of the term vivid? How do you think this relates to his obsession with innocence?


*Just a little footnote or rant I have to go on here. I can't stand the "new" rule for possessives ending in "s". In my day it would have been Robbins'. I didn't know about this rule until I saw Tom using it in Fierce Invalids ("Switters's"). Then I looked it up in Eats, Shoots & Leaves and found out about the new rule. :rolleyes:
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Unread postby Charlene » Mon Jan 24, 2005 12:16 pm

I can relate. To me, too vivid means something along the lines of Chuck E. Cheese's!!! (noise & atmosphere). Sometimes, when the neighborhood band is practiving in my basement, it becomes just too vivid for me. Las Vegas can be too vivid. The mind of an ADHD child (once explained to me as the child looking in the mirror at himself and grabbing his head, trying to get all the things swirling around inside his head to stop). Some people might think Vanesssa's and Lily-Rose's wardrobe at bit too vivid. A guy or girl covered with hundred's of tattoos can be too vivid for some. Channel surfing. Too vivid to me, means not peaceful; a place or situation that is just too stimulating to the senses.

Sometimes, it seemed when things were starting to get a little too vivid for Switters, he'd escape by rubbing his step-sister's bra between his fingers - her innocence - calmed him.

It's like when your child has had a particularly trying day or when they are bouncing off the walls, but it's nap time. If they have a special soft toy/blanket, just rubbing a section of it between their fingers quickly quiets them and their eyelids begin to droop. The toy/blanket isn't requiring anything of them. It's not vivid, it's just there, innocent.

Gee, hope any of this makes sense.

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Unread postby Liz » Mon Jan 24, 2005 1:01 pm

Charlene wrote:I can relate. To me, too vivid means something along the lines of Chuck E. Cheese's!!! (noise & atmosphere). Sometimes, when the neighborhood band is practiving in my basement, it becomes just too vivid for me. Las Vegas can be too vivid. The mind of an ADHD child (once explained to me as the child looking in the mirror at himself and grabbing his head, trying to get all the things swirling around inside his head to stop). Some people might think Vanesssa's and Lily-Rose's wardrobe at bit too vivid. A guy or girl covered with hundred's of tattoos can be too vivid for some. Channel surfing. Too vivid to me, means not peaceful; a place or situation that is just too stimulating to the senses.

Sometimes, it seemed when things were starting to get a little too vivid for Switters, he'd escape by rubbing his step-sister's bra between his fingers - her innocence - calmed him.

It's like when your child has had a particularly trying day or when they are bouncing off the walls, but it's nap time. If they have a special soft toy/blanket, just rubbing a section of it between their fingers quickly quiets them and their eyelids begin to droop. The toy/blanket isn't requiring anything of them. It's not vivid, it's just there, innocent.

Gee, hope any of this makes sense.


Charlene, it makes perfect sense now. Wish I had thought of it. This was one of those questions that I asked because I didn't know the answer. :dunce: Any other ideas out there?
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Re: Fierce Invalids Question #22 - Way too Vivid

Unread postby fansmom » Mon Jan 24, 2005 2:41 pm

Liz wrote:“Switters is a man obsessed with innocence. As part of that obsession, he doesn't like things that teem. He finds them undignified and kind of creepy. So when he is speaking of things being too vivid, that's what he's talking about. Things being out of control in a mindless way. I mean, he's certainly not a control freak. Quite the opposite. He is the ultimate believer in freedom to the point where he believes that even believing anything is a threat to freedom. But he doesn't like all this mindless squirming and itching and breeding that you find in some aspects of nature.” ~ Tom Robbins from the January Magazine Interview.

What did you think of Robbins’s* use of the term vivid? How do you think this relates to his obsession with innocence?


*Just a little footnote or rant I have to go on here. I can't stand the "new" rule for possessives ending in "s". In my day it would have been Robbins'. I didn't know about this rule until I saw Tom using it in Fierce Invalids ("Switters's"). Then I looked it up in Eats, Shoots & Leaves and found out about the new rule. :rolleyes:


I have a friend whose 22-year-old autistic son groans when things get too intense for him. I've wondered for years why that helped him, but in "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time," the author compares autistic groaning to hitting Ctrl-Alt-Del on the computer.

Let's all re-boot to shut out the world and regain our innocence.

[Liz, I'm okay with the possessives ending in "s" (I believe Strunk and White say that only Jesus, Moses, and other historical figures are exceptions to the add "'s" rule"), but I have a hard time with the rule about placing punctuation within quotes. I want to put the comma outside the quotation marks in my reference to "The Curious Incident," (again!) since the comma isn't part of the name, but I understand that's not how it's done any longer.]

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Mon Jan 24, 2005 3:02 pm

Vivid for me meant too intense also but not just from the sensory stimulation or environment standpoint but also an emotional standpoint. Something that was out of your comfort zone and too intense to imagine or think about.

Love the idea of the reality of the security blanket.
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Re: Fierce Invalids Question #22 - Way too Vivid

Unread postby Liz » Mon Jan 24, 2005 5:29 pm

fansmom wrote:
Liz wrote:“Switters is a man obsessed with innocence. As part of that obsession, he doesn't like things that teem. He finds them undignified and kind of creepy. So when he is speaking of things being too vivid, that's what he's talking about. Things being out of control in a mindless way. I mean, he's certainly not a control freak. Quite the opposite. He is the ultimate believer in freedom to the point where he believes that even believing anything is a threat to freedom. But he doesn't like all this mindless squirming and itching and breeding that you find in some aspects of nature.” ~ Tom Robbins from the January Magazine Interview.

What did you think of Robbins’s* use of the term vivid? How do you think this relates to his obsession with innocence?


*Just a little footnote or rant I have to go on here. I can't stand the "new" rule for possessives ending in "s". In my day it would have been Robbins'. I didn't know about this rule until I saw Tom using it in Fierce Invalids ("Switters's"). Then I looked it up in Eats, Shoots & Leaves and found out about the new rule. :rolleyes:


I have a friend whose 22-year-old autistic son groans when things get too intense for him. I've wondered for years why that helped him, but in "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time," the author compares autistic groaning to hitting Ctrl-Alt-Del on the computer.

Let's all re-boot to shut out the world and regain our innocence.

[Liz, I'm okay with the possessives ending in "s" (I believe Strunk and White say that only Jesus, Moses, and other historical figures are exceptions to the add "'s" rule"), but I have a hard time with the rule about placing punctuation within quotes. I want to put the comma outside the quotation marks in my reference to "The Curious Incident," (again!) since the comma isn't part of the name, but I understand that's not how it's done any longer.]


Yeah, Fansmom, that rule bothers me too. Why do they have to change the rules? Grammar is hard enough as it is. :banghead:

And DITHOT, for me personally too vivid means "too intense" also--in both the senses you describe. Robbins has just expanded on it for Switters, I guess.
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Unread postby surfmom » Mon Jan 24, 2005 5:33 pm

I could be way off base here, but when I first read that quote (and remember, I've read Robbins but not THIS book so I don't "know" Switters), I thought that Switters wouldn't like me. The innocent don't question things. They are so much more accepting of the face value. Simple and beautiful. While us grown ups, the innocent lost, tend to question things, poke pry, itch at it, ruminate, worry. We don't just stop to smell the daisies but wonder if we really have the time, should take anti-histamines first, or notice that it's buggy and not want to get our nose too close.

One of things I've loved about surfing, is that once I paddle out, I can truly feel this sense of freedom, of relaxation, just being in nature in a way that is truly present. There is an innocence....

Not sure if that makes sense or not.....


PS to Fansmom--I loved the book Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. Very well done and compassionate portrayal of autism.

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Unread postby surfmom » Mon Jan 24, 2005 5:35 pm

I just re-read my post. Yes, the innocent do question. My kids ask questions all the time, but they seem more of a curious sort, in an open and well, INNOCENT, manner.

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Unread postby Liz » Mon Jan 24, 2005 5:41 pm

surfmom wrote:One of things I've loved about surfing, is that once I paddle out, I can truly feel this sense of freedom, of relaxation, just being in nature in a way that is truly present. There is an innocence....


Great example of innocence. And we're back to the theme about truly living--knowing how to get the most out of life.
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Unread postby suec » Mon Jan 24, 2005 7:18 pm

Isn't it ironic?
I just checked this word. Origin from Latin vividus, from vivere 'to live'. Interesting that he uses the word to have negative connotations. I'm not sure how it relates to innocence. Except:
"The irony of Switters was that while he loved life and tended to embrace it vigorously, he also could be not merely finicky but squeamish. For example, what else but squeamishness could account for his reluctance to accept the existence of his organs and entrails?"
So, he appears to love life but perhaps wants to retain a sense of awe and wonder, to savour the mystery of it, rather than the mechanics of it. In that sense, he is innocent. He uses vivid to describe the woman in the bar and her crude comments. I can see how that relates to innocence. Also, he hopes that there is nothing more vivid than a chicken in the boat. Seeing how that relates to innocence is hard for me this late in the evening. Maybe it is just life in the raw that he objects to when he comments on the Amazon - seeing it in action close up, that destroys the rosy view he has. I think that is a kind of innocence, that maybe he shares with Johnny, actually. It's there in the Tennessee Williams quotation about looking out of the window of the house on fire, and instead of focusing on the fire, he stresses the desirability of admiring the view. I think Johnny does that too. So, yes, it is back to knowing how to get the most out of life.
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Mon Jan 24, 2005 7:59 pm

surfmom wrote: I just re-read my post. Yes, the innocent do question. My kids ask questions all the time, but they seem more of a curious sort, in an open and well, INNOCENT, manner.


They are honestly looking to acquire knowledge and we, as adults, are looking for the catch or the problem associated with it because of what we have learned. Not to be risk takers.

suec wrote: I just checked this word. Origin from Latin vividus, from vivere 'to live'...Maybe it is just life in the raw that he objects to when he comments on the Amazon - seeing it in action close up, that destroys the rosy view he has.


I think that is a lot of it suec. Something about the brass tacks of lving things seem to cause him distress!
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby Bohemian » Mon Jan 24, 2005 8:52 pm

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:Vivid for me meant too intense also but not just from the sensory stimulation or environment standpoint but also an emotional standpoint. Something that was out of your comfort zone and too intense to imagine or think about.

I guess now is as good a time as any to admit that I did not finish my reading assignment :blush: Nonetheless, I have been enjoying your discussions and did get far enough to agree with DITHOT's take on vivid.

I'd also like to thank you for today's lesson in the new punctuation. Switters's ??? I am all too guilty of *creative* punctuation, but certainly had a handle on possessives. Sigh. Now I know I am old. Guess I had better break out my copy of Eats, Shoots and Leaves and brush up.
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Mon Jan 24, 2005 9:05 pm

Bohemian wrote: I guess now is as good a time as any to admit that I did not finish my reading assignment :blush:


We are pretty lax on grading around here, Bohemain, but we do place a high value on class participation! :wave:

I am about to give up on correct punctuation. I was never good at it before and now they change the rules on me! :dunce:
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby Gypsylee » Tue Jan 25, 2005 2:05 am

I hate punctuation rules. How to punctuate:

See back in three month's time or three months' time??? There is some rule that I can't make sense of regarding the above and I never know if I am punctuating correctly or not in certain situations. I just hope the doctors I transcribe for aren't too picky.

Vivid vs innocence. When I read the things he considered vivid, it seemed it usually was overwhelming things, icky things. I have a major problem seeing a big pile of worms all crawling around in a big glob, which could, I guess include internal organs. A lot of snakes crawling around, maggots, OH YUCK. Just plain gross stuff...........vivid.

Innocence would be the opposite, anything that didn't overwhelm the senses. A peaceful place.
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Unread postby axelsgirl » Tue Jan 25, 2005 3:15 am

DITHOT I agree with you that Switters has a problem with "the brass tacks of life seeming to cause him distress". He definitly has a commitment problem, choosing Suzy who is realistically not attainable for him for many reasons. Domino who offered her whole self to him if they married. He seems to not want to get emotionally involved on a deep level with anyone. He likes to dabble in adventures, relationships , occupations and causes , but not commit wholeheartedly. That would just be too vivid, too real for him. Hope this makes sense, it's late here.

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