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Exclusive! Poet and writer James Carter shares a wonderful interview with Russell Hoban from 1995, about films, musical and literary influences, The Mouse and His Child, Turtle Diary, his early career as an illustrator, creativity tips and more.
For the last few years I have put up quotes in my village for sa4qe on my own, so it was lovely to be able to do it this year with my boyfriend, Rik, whom I met through a conversation on Twitter about Hoban. We bonded through our mutual love of The Medusa Frequency in particular. I live next to a river and wanted my first quote - sellotaped to the local lifebuoy - to be one of Hoban's lyrical evocations of the natural world; this mix of lyricism and natural elements feels romantic too.
Russell Hoban's naming day was cold and rainy here in White Rock BC, Canada. The pier was mostly deserted. I walked to the very end and attached this year's quote to the railing that looks out to the American San Juan Islands and the Canadian Gulf Islands.
As I walked back, a small smile of a rare kind took over my cold and wet face.
There are really only two ways out of our neighbourhood, unless you want to swim. Most often we choose the one that carries us through a path of middle-class homes with middle-class families working middle-class jobs, until they can afford to retire or sell and move to a somewhat higher-middle-class area.
On Tuesday, it was cold and windy and snowy, as it has so often been this winter, here in Chicago. In the morning I selected my quotes (two this year) and wrote them out on authentic, yellow A4 paper from Ryman's (purchased in London in September, specifically for this purpose) and headed out to work. As usual, I chose my quotes more or less at random, and as usual, I wasn't sure where they wanted to be left. At the end of my work day, I found the right spot for this one:
His birthday will always be a celebration for me and a time to introduce him to a new audience. So I left my quote at Museum Station, Sydney. A very old, very deep underground station which feels to be inhabited by so many trapped in the great vessel of the alone
In this article formerly published only in print, and subtitled "View from a Novelist’s Study", Russell Hoban writes of the inspiration he finds in music: "Indeed he listens as he works. Here he reflects on the power of music to unlock memories."