SA4QE - The Slickman A4 Quotation Event 2016

See also this selection of tweets from 2016's SA4QE

SA4QE 2016 - Roland Clare - Bristol UK, United Kingdom

… I got myself an Americano and found an empty table by the window where I could start 'Hope of a Tree' while drinking my coffee. The day was sunny and the Fulham Road was thronged with people doing their Saturday things. With my book and my coffee I felt as if I was in a little island of no hurry and no bother where I could let my mind be quiet for a while.

I opened the book […] and there’s Cynthia on Clifton Bridge thinking about jumping and here comes Sam to talk her out of it. OK, I thought, you can get a good love story out of a beginning like that. Then I noticed a woman who’d just sat down at the next table watching me. She was about my age, not bad looking, maybe a little too much jaw, dark brown hair in a Louise Brooks cut. Black polo neck, little pink leather jacket, black trousers and Birkenstocks. Very sleek, very cool and sure of herself.

She gave me a sort of knowing leer and said, ‘Enjoying it?’

‘Just started it,’ I said. ‘Have you read it?’

‘Had to,’ she said. ‘I was married to the author.’

‘Oh,’ I said.

‘Do you know him?’ she said.

‘Sort of,’ I said. ‘I’m his girlfriend.’

I was surprised to hear myself say that but I tend to take against sleek women on sight.

‘Really!’ she said. ‘He usually goes for the intellectual type. Which you don’t, at first glance, appear to be.’

‘It could be that he’s looking to change his luck,’ I said.

‘Which way?’ she said. I stood up and took half a step towards her. She suddenly looked less sure of herself.

‘Maybe,’ I said. ‘You’d like to continue this discussion outside?’

‘Oh dear,’ she said. ‘Phil has come a long way down the female evolutionary ladder. This conversation would seem to be at an end. I suggest that you go back to your book and I to my cappuccino.’

‘While you still have your teeth,’ I said. She stayed quiet then, and when she picked up her cup it rattled in the saucer. I was amazed at my behaviour and quite pleased with it. Ms Ex-Wife finished her cappuccino quickly and left, avoiding eye contact the whole time […].

Sam talks Cynthia down off the bridge and they go to the camera obscura. ‘It’s a dark chamber,’ says Sam, ‘but you get a clear bright view of things from here.’
I imagined him saying that in the kind of film where you can see what’s coming long before it arrives. Sam – he’s American – would be played by Jim Carrey without his usual gurning and pretty soon we’d find out in a flashback that he’d been contemplating suicide after being dumped by Jennifer, played by Emily Watson. Cynthia would be Kate Winslet. An American film shot on location here.

‘Another dark chamber?’ says Cynthia as they start taking their clothes off at Sam’s place on page 17. They get through the sex pretty quickly because that part is only foreplay for a whole lot of talk about books and music and painting and movies. With quotes from here and there in italics. Italics always tire me out. I had a second Americano because I was getting sleepy. Then I got up and walked down to the New King’s Road and over to the river. I found myself a bench in Bishop’s Park and sat there in the sunshine watching a crew rowing down the
river with the cox yelling at them. For a while I just sat there trying to let my mind go blank but the book was in my hands and I kept thinking, Am I this guy’s girlfriend? It’s always a bad sign when you start thinking in italics. I read a little more but by then I knew I wasn’t sure I could finish the book, it was too boring ...

Chosen partly because it's very funny and partly because of its reference to Bristol UK, where I did my SA4Qation.

Filed under Bristol UK United Kingdom My Tango with Barbara Strozzi

SA4QE 2016 - Yvonne Studer - Zürich, Switzerland

Swamped with end-of-term chores as always at this time of year, I nevertheless enjoyed doing a bit of "fork-you-ating" in the morning. This time my quotations went to a few colleagues at my school who had been in a reading group with me last year and who were game when I invited them to read and discuss Riddley Walker with me. Mind you, they weren't English teachers but teachers of German, French, Italian, Latin and History! Some received a quotation from the book we'd read together, others were given a quotation from The Mouse and His Child, which I love very much too. Although there wasn't much time during the break when I presented the quotations to the colleagues I met in the staff room, we had nice little chats that weren't about students or marks as most other conversations now are.
The quotations for colleagues I didn't meet were placed in their pigeonholes (actually pigeon-drawers...) in the staff room (see picture). I hope they enjoyed the little surprise as much as I enjoyed "fork-you-ating" them in the morning.

…this time I fealt a Power in me what circelt with it. Membering when the thot come to me: THE ONLYES POWER IS NO POWER. Wel now I sust that wernt qwite it. It aint that its no Power. Its the not sturgling for Power that’s where the Power is. Its in jus letting your self behynt and letting your self be where it says in Eusa 5:

… in tu the hart uv the stoan hart uv the dans. Evere thing blippin & bleapin & movin in the shiftin uv thay Nos. Sum tyms bytin sum tyms bit.

'That's it,' said Serpentina. 'Nothing is the ultimate truth.'
'Nothing?' said the child.
'Nothing,' repeated Serpentina. ...
'I don't believe it,' said the mouse child. ... 'I wonder what's on the other side of nothing?' he said.
'Tiny upstart!' said Serpentina. 'Who are you to seek the other side of nothing?'
'If I'm big enough to stand in the mud all this time and contemplate infinity,' said the child, 'I'm big enough to look at the other side of nothing.' ...
'Ah,' he said, 'there's nothing on the other side of nothing but us.'

I hope everyone has felt on the other side of nothing today and immersed in the heart of the dance!
Happy Russ's Birthday!

Filed under Zürich Switzerland Riddley Walker The Mouse and his Child

SA4QE 2016 - Cindy Harper - Twitter/Facebook/Dundee, United States

My Facebook post:

What is there to tell you? he said to an unknown audience in his mind. What’s the difference who I am or if I am? The audience shifted in their seats, yawned. All right, said Kleinzeit, let me put it this way: you read a book, and in the book there’s this man sitting in his room all alone. Right? The audience nodded. Right, said Kleinzeit. But he isn’t really alone, you see. The writer is there to tell about it, you’re there to read about it. He’s not alone the way I’m alone. You’re not alone when there’s somebody there to see it and tell about it. Me, I’m alone. What else is new? said the audience. Possibility of nothing this evening, clearing towards morning, said a weather report. Let me put it this way, said Kleinzeit. This will bring us down to fundamentals: I have a Gillette Techmatic razor. The blade is a continuous band of steel, and after every five shaves I wind it to the next number. Number one is the last, which is of course significant, yes? Then I stay on number one for ten, fifteen shaves maybe, before I get a new cartridge. I ask myself why. There you have it, eh? The audience had left, the empty seats yawned at him. Kleinzeit got out of the train, poured into the morning rush in the corridor. Among the feet he saw a sheet of yellow paper, A4 size, on the floor, unstepped-on. He picked it up. Clean on both sides. He put it in his attaché case. He rode up on the escalator, looking up the skirt of the girl nine steps above him. Bottom of the morning, he said to himself.

Hoban, Russell (2015-05-12). Kleinzeit (Valancourt 20th Century Classics) (p. 8). Valancourt Books. Kindle Edition.
The Slickman A4 Quotation Event ("SA4QE") began in 2002 as a fun way for Russell Hoban fans to share their favourite quotes with the world. Since then over 400 quotations have been posted in phone boxes, on park benches, on lion monuments, in bookshops and museums, as well as on social media.. Read more about SA4QE: ttp://

Filed under Twitter/Facebook/Dundee United States Kleinzeit

SA4QE 2019 - Thoughtcat - Colchester, United Kingdom

Having taken part in SA4QE since it first started, and used a great number of quotes from Russell Hoban's books, this year I thought I'd share a passage from an interview that Russ gave in 1995 and which has only recently come to light. James Carter interviewed Hoban for his masters dissertation on The Mouse and His Child, and it lay dormant until it was submitted to last November. It's one of the best Hoban interviews I've read. The passage I quoted today struck home with me in particular because I've recently started writing in earnest again after many years of not-writing. When I first discovered Hoban, via the brilliant 1987 novella The Medusa Frequency, I was a teenage poet with aspirations to a literary life. Now nearly 30 years later, my writing career didn't quite work out as I'd hoped, although inbetween times I variously wrote a couple of unpublished novels, a handful of published poems and met Russell Hoban a number of times. My first encounter with him was at a reading he gave at the Richmond literary festival in 1999 to promote his novel Angelica's Grotto. I wrote to him after that with a poem I'd written and he wrote back almost immediately on his trademark yellow paper. I don't have the letter to hand but he said words to the effect of "I remember you well from the reading - you had the pale, determined face of someone who sticks with things and gets things done". This was very good of him, although I didn't stick with the writing quite tenaciously enough. Having recently rediscovered my love of writing though, I realise it's not going too far to say that this is always what I was meant to be doing, and that I probably needn't have struggled with style and subject so much in those early years since what turns out to interest me most is, unsurprisingly now, "the unwordable that happens off the page" as Russ once put it. That's not to say that it's not possible to write it, but rather to look at the world in a different way and write what you see and what interests you, whatever it is and even if it's not the straight reality that most of our lives inhabit. So at the same time as I was rediscovering my writing mojo, this wonderful interview emerged, with this passage.

Don’t worry about the form, and don’t worry about beginnings, middles and endings, take hold of the thing, wherever you can, whatever of an idea presents itself to you, whether it’s the foot or the elbow, grab it, and work out from there. Don’t expect too much of yourself, but – just as people who are thrifty, and who save money – and don’t wait until they’ve got fifty pounds to put in the bank, but put in a pound, or five pounds, or ten pounds, and it accumulates that way, do something every day. If you can only write a paragraph, do a paragraph. If you can write a page, do a page. A whole story, okay, an idea, okay, notes, whatever – just get into the habit of doing something every day. And, let the ideas develop as they will – don’t require of yourself that you do a whole story or a whole novel, just do whatever you can – every day.

This is some of the best creative writing advice I've ever read. I may not, actually, manage to do some writing every day, but it makes writing seem a possible thing to do, which is exactly what you need when you're trying to get your head around a creative project as well as juggle the rest of life's demands.

Read the full interview:

As last year I took my yellow paper out to the river with my girlfriend Katy, who also took part, although she outdid me on the quote quantity. I stuck my quotation on the local village notice board underneath a notice advertising a local "pre-Valentine's Day market". On the other side of the notice board were more signs of village activity, including a splendid one advertising "East Anglia Potato Day". I think Russ would have liked something about that.

Filed under Colchester United Kingdom