From the Archives...

Official Bob Paris (c) all rights reserved


August 1995


“The depth of my belief in the power of bodybuilding grew out of my desires as an artist. I pretended that I wanted grand success as an athlete in some traditional sport, but only because that was what I believed was the right thing to feel. Great athletes were the good guys and rewarded with adulation and wealth. Artists generally tended to struggle. When I discovered bodybuilding, I knew—with the sort of instinct that reveals itself in rare moments—that I could have both. I could be the artist I’d always dreamed of being and I could be a jock and exert my physical presence in a way that would demonstrate to all the world that I was truly a man. I could have taken no other sport as far as I did this one. It is misunderstood, underappreciated , corrupted by petty greed, and considered to be the realm of freaks, but it is also beautiful and thrilling and lifted high above the dull thud of conformity.” 

Excerpted from:

GORILLA SUIT by Bob Paris © (ISBN 0-312-16855-1) 

Photo by John Balik, 1983.© Bob Paris all rights reserved

Excerpt: GORILLA SUIT by Bob Paris (c)

Rediscovering the Accidentally Discovered

Late Spring, 1977 – Southern Indiana 

“Cummin’s Book Store was in downtown Columbus. They had the best newsstand in town. I went in one afternoon looking for the latest issue of my favorite backpacking magazine and ran across a copy of ‘Muscle Builder’ on the shelf. On the cover was a picture of some guy named Schwarzenegger, doing an exercise with his gigantic arm up over his head and a straining grimace on his face. His sweaty, dark hair hung down in his face, and he had on a light-colored tank top, and the arm and hand that weren’t over his head was grabbing on to a bench of some kind, the fingers squeezing into the brown leather, fingernails white from the pressure.

I began to pore through the pages, devouring the pictures of these guys training and showing their tremendously muscled bodies, bursting out of T-shirts or without shirts on or flexing on a beach with mountains in the background…According to what I could tell…these men occupied a terrific kingdom all their own, out in California.”

Excerpted from: GORILLA SUIT © by Bob Paris all rights reserved

ISBN 0-312-16855-1

photo: Art Zeller 1989 (c) Bob Paris all rights reserved



Friday Evening, Midsummer, 1994, Seattle 

“I once loved the sport of bodybuilding. In a strange way I still did. It frustrated me and at times I hated it, but for sixteen years I tried to balance love, frustration and hatred while watching both the sport and myself change. Convincing myself that I’d outgrown this obsession was impossible. One simple truth held us together: bodybuilding had saved my life. It was a guardian angel who found me at seventeen hazarding seas of inner struggle without a compass.  I had the luxury of distance, remembering those struggles that had led me to want to be big and strong, but I couldn’t run from the truth of what had happened along the way. My frustration may have grown into hatred, but the love came first. It began simply. I found authentic purpose the moment my hands wrapped around a cold iron bar. All else fell away and my spirit knew it could do anything. I built my American dream one repetition at a time. That much could never be taken away.”

Excepted from: GORILLA SUIT by Bob Paris ©1997, all rights reserved, ISBN 0-312-16855-1)

Photo by Art Zeller, 1989 (copyright © Bob Paris, all rights reserved)