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Happy Hoban Day to all!
My usual 4QAtion practice is to select quotes more or less at random. This year being how this year is, I had a couple of quotes in mind that I specifically wanted to drop and in the course of looking those up, a quote that wanted to be part of the event made itself known to me, so I took it along.
This year I drew my quotes mostly from The Medusa Frequency, the first Russell Hoban book I read. It also has a personal significance for me since one of the most important relationships of my life arose four years ago from a conversation on Twitter about the book, trading favourite quotations back and forth. I also chose a quote from The Moment under The Moment in response to the current political climate, and finally a poem from The Pedalling Man about my home city of London.
I posted my contribution in the form of a Facebook status with accompanying cover photo. This is what I wrote:
Today, on 4th February 2017, would have been the American writer Russell Hoban's 92nd birthday hadn't he passed in 2011. To celebrate the day, I have chosen a quotation to post on my Facebook page, as many other Hoban fans will do too. We've been doing this since 2002 - it's an event we call the SA4QE, the Slickman A4 Quotation Event. As always, my quotation reflects what seems to be "in the air", a sentiment or mood transmitted on a special frequency.
As in previous years, I chose three short quotes. My first comes from The Moment Under The Moment and was tacked onto the little jetty on my local river. This passage leaped off the page at me, as if it’d always been waiting for me to find it. I wanted to put it out in the world, so others could find it too - a shot of Hoban as they ambled onto the jetty. I also placed tiny versions of this quote in the local shop, mostly hidden behind packets of food so people would find them as they shopped; one ended up perched on top of a bumper packet of Wagonwheels (see photo).
Link to all articles on the online version of Granta magazine by Russell Hoban. Subscribers only. Most pieces were later collected in The Moment under The Moment (1992); we have not been able to verify whether the Granta pieces differ from the Moment versions. Titles: Footplacers, London Transport Owls, Wincer-Boise; Mnemosyne, Teen Taals, and Tottenham Court Road; Fragments of a Lament for Thelonious Monk; Pan Lives; One Less Octopus at Paxos; A Conversation With The Head of Orpheus; The Boat Train (appears to be an extract or early draft of a chapter from The Medusa Frequency); The Man with the Dagger; The Devil’s Kitchen. Also an extract (likely chapter 1) from Riddley Walker.
I printed a dozen copies, leaving one on the southbound tube train that took me to Clapham Common, another on a park bench, and a couple more at a bus stop I walked past. A couple more I tucked into newspapers at cafes near my place of work, and another in a phone box - not that anyone much uses these nowadays, except for non-telephonic purposes. After work I left another on the train that took me back to Elephant and Castle - noting en route that the park bench copy was still there, although thumbed; left in situ I hope in a spirit of generosity rather than indifference.
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.
I found this superb quote on the first page of the first book I opened at random yesterday. It is from the essay "Pan Lives" in THE MOMENT UNDER THE MOMENT. I pinned the yellow paper to a bulletin board of the Upper St Clair library. Everyone who goes in and out will see it today.