SA4QE 2014 - Katy W - Near Colchester, United Kingdom

I first became aware of the SA4QE in about 2005 from an article in The Guardian. At that time I was mainly housebound with chronic illness, and knew no one else who participated, so I did the event solitarily for several years, leaving sheets of (I have to admit non-yellow) paper around the local village green next to the river. Leaving Hoban’s quotes here felt playful and subversive, a fitting tribute to a quixotic writer. In 2013 I joined Twitter and was excited to connect with a few Hoban fans there, and particularly with one I have become close to, so this year I felt able to participate more collectively, albeit from my cul-de-sac of rural England.

I selected quotes from The Moment Under the Moment, which I’ve been pondering recently, as well as from The Medusa Frequency, my favourite Hoban tome, and duct-taped them up (it was a wild, blustery day) on the green and by the river. I wanted the quotes to express what I love about Hoban - his mix of poetry, profundity and humour, his ability to veer effortlessly from the sublime to the comic. My chosen quotes are also either perennial favourites or ones that have particular personal resonance.

As I was finishing up, a woman with a golden Labrador walked past, stopped, read a couple of the quotes and looked at me. “Oh,” she said. “Oh. Oh.”

“Yes, Oh,” I said.

She nodded and walked off. I felt it was a suitably Hobanesque encounter.

“It is a strange and frightening thing to be a human being, to partake of the mystery and madness of human consciousness.”

“What most people take to be reality is a load of old nonsense invented by not very inventive minds.”

“Hear the earth say itself, ponderous with evening, turning to the night.”

I also left a few much smaller versions of the quotes tucked under baked-bean tins, peanut-butter jars and packets of biscuits in the local village shop. I like the idea, and like to think Hoban would have liked the idea, of someone picking up a can of baked beans and finding underneath a small piece of paper that reads, ‘What most people take to be reality is a load of old nonsense invented by not very inventive minds.’

Filed under:

Near Colchester
United Kingdom