SA4QE 2022 - Yvonne Studer - Zürich, Switzerland

This year, Russ would have turned 97 already. Hard to believe it‘s been 17 years since a group of fans met in London to celebrate our favourite writer‘s 80th birthday. The tradition of spreading quotations from his work on his birthday started earlier than, and went on regularly after, our „Somepoasyum“, and I have been doing my best to take part almost every year. However, this year I did not just want to hang up quotations printed on yellow A4 paper but decided to place spare copies of Turtle Diary in our school library and on a community bookcase in our neighbourhood. To combat the leaden atmosphere of these days requires the release of a lot more positive energy and I thought that getting the book rather than just a quotation might spread some „joie de vivre“ to the lucky finders. I definitely got something in return too. I had a lovely conversation on literature with one of our school librarians and am feeling just a little happier again than I did before because I didn‘t listen to the negative voice in my head that told me to let it be. My quotation from Turtle Diary was placed inside the books, with a reference to the SA4QE event and the Russell Hoban website, and finders were explicitly allowed to keep the book if they like it.

I think of the turtles swimming steadily against the current all the way to Ascension. I think of them swimming through all that golden-green water over the dark, over the chill of the deeps and the jaws of the dark. And I think of the sun over the water, the sun through the water, the eye holding the sun, being held by it with no thought and only the rhythm of the going, the steady wing-strokes of the flippers in the water.

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