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).
SA4QE - The Slickman A4 Quotation Event
This fan event began in 2002 as a unique way of spreading the words of Russell Hoban. Every 4th February (Russell's birthday), readers around the world write their favourite quotations from his books on sheets of yellow A4 paper (the sort he used) and leave them in public places, and/or share them via this site or on social media with the hashtag #sa4qe Read more.
Posts to this site starting from the 2016 contributions are displayed below in descending order. As new posts come in from 4th February 2017 these will also start to appear here. See also a selection of quotes retrieved from Twitter in 2016 from people taking part in the activity.
But the reality of it is that all of us are more than a little crazy and there is a craziness in the human situation. The ancient Greeks put a name to that craziness, they called it Dionysus, and having given it a name they could take it into account….What I’m saying is that it’s a strange and frightening thing to be a human being, to partake of the mystery and madness of human consciousness
Always in November there comes such a night, blue-black and shining and wild with rain and wind and brown leaves blowing. In the morning suddenly the plane trees on the far side of the common are bare winter trees.
My second quote, sellotaped to a bench overlooking the river, relates to a Hoban moment I had with my boyfriend Rik, a fellow fan. One wet November evening we went to a park near his flat. It was a blustery night, the beeches, oaks and horse chestnuts were being battered by wind and rain. The next morning, when we returned, the trees were suddenly all bare. We realised this was a moment straight out of The Medusa Frequency.
Ah! said the walls, listening to the footfalls, it’s the silence that we like, the lovely shape of the silence between the shape of the footfalls.
The third quote was chosen at random from Kleinzeit. I put it on the village’s notice board under Rik's chosen quote - we did the event together again, which was nice. It is a quiet spot, the only disturbance being the occasional passing car, so Hoban's words seemed apt.
On the 4th, just as I was preparing to leave home for work, my boss called. He was using the last of the coffee beans at the office and since our office, like many, cannot function without a steady supply of caffeine, he asked me to swing by Metropolis and pick up a couple more pounds. Metropolis is our coffee purveyor of choice and since their cafe http://www.metropoliscoffee.com/cafe/ is not far from my apartment so I am often called upon to perform this critical operational task for the greater good. I am always happy to do this, but today especially so, because I had a quote printed and folded and ready to go and it seemed almost providential that I should be sent out of my way to a place where people are sitting around reading and drinking coffee and eating sticky buns and tapping away on their computers and thinking deep thoughts. No better place to leave a Hoban quote.
“I’m always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,” said Muskrat. “That is why I speak as I do. You’ve heard of Muskrat’s Much-in-Little, of course?”
“No,” said the child. “What is it?”
Muskrat stopped, cleared his throat, ruffled his fur, drew himself up, and said in ringing tones, “Why times How equals What.” He paused to let the words take effect.
“That’s Muskrat’s Much-in-Little,” he said. He ruffled his fur again and slapped the ice with his tail. “Why times How equals What,” he repeated. “Strikes you all of a heap the first time you hear it, doesn’t it? Pretty well covers everything! I’m a little surprised that you haven’t heard of it before, I must say. It caused a good deal of comment both over and under the pond, and almost everyone agreed that the ripples from it were ever-widening.”
February 4 is Russell Hoban’s birthday. This yellow paper was placed here as part of an annual world-wide celebration of Hoban and his work. Your finding it and reading it makes you part of the celebration, too.
I walked in to the cafe and picked up a bag of Falstaff Winter Blend and one of Mocha-Java. I left the quote tucked in between a the rows of bags of beans. I ordered a latte and while waiting for it to be carefully hand crafted for me, I overheard two baristas who were tasting something, a beverage of some kind, and one of them said "I'm always a little leery of the interplay of flavors between coffee and tea. Apples and oranges, you know?" It wasn't quite Muskrat quality, but I thought if I hung around long enough, I might hear the coffee version of the Much-in-Little. Alas, I couldn't wait that long. People were depending on me! I picked up my drink and left the cafe with the beans and a feeling of accomplishment. A great way to start the day.
Thanks to all who 4Qate, in all forms, in many places. It's always a delight to read your thoughts, your choices, the lengths you go to, to make this idea real every year.
Happy Hoban Day!
My chosen quotation for this year's sA4qe is from the Hoban novel which I had surely already distributed most widely during 2015: 'Riddley Walker' ... I had circulated a couple of spare copies amongst friends on various occasions this year (some of the older picador editions I'd accrued from charity shops over the years) - I'd also recommended the novel to several more friends and colleagues in recent months. (It was nice to see some high-profile erudite endorsement from Salman Rushdie in the weeks preceding Russell's birthday, too: he listed RW as one of his favourite novels!) Novel chosen, the method for choosing my quotation was borrowed from fellow 4qator, former English teacher, and 'nonsense aficionado' Roland Clare ... I picked a page at random and, naturally, found the great passage which follows pictured here, in situ.
And this year's sa4qation location? Especially erudite and historical; the riddles are walking in Oxford ...
"What ben makes tracks for what wil be. Words in the air pirnt foot steps on the groun for us to put our feet in to. May be a nother 100 years and kids wil sing a rime of Riddley Walker and Abel Goodparley with ther circel game."
Fewer photos than usual - apologies; this was due to phone storage issues (I hear you making some pun along the lines of: What's been, making way for what will be!) ... but readers will have to take my word that this year's sheets of yellow A4 trailed into the deepest and most intimate academic sanctums of the University where - it is hoped - the words will go on to penetrate the consciousness of some intellectual or scholar who will, in turn, write a thesis on the novel and publish it on Russellhoban.org for all to enjoy.
"If you cud even jus see 1 thing clear the woal of whats in it you cud see every thing clear. But you never wil get to see the woal of any thing youre all ways in the middl of it living it or moving thru it."