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 on social media with the hashtags #sa4qe and #russellhoban. Contributed photos and commentary were posted from 2002 to 2012 on the SA4QE site and then following this site's launch in 2012 new posts were uploaded here until 2022. This site no longer includes new contributions, but fans are welcome to continue celebrating! If you need a single sheet of yellow A4 and have enough yellow ink in your printer you can download this PDF. Below are some random quotations shared in previous years.

Everyone lives a life that is seen and a life that is unseen. Our dreams are part of our unseen life. We often forget our own dreams and we have no idea whatever of the dreams of others: last night the person next to you in the underground may have ridden naked on a lion or travelled under the sea to the lost city of Atlantis. Along with the dream life there is the life of ideas and half-ideas, of glimmerings and flashes and indescribable atmospheres of the mind. What we actually do in what is called the real world depends largely on how we live this unseen life in our inner world of words and images, songs and bits of poems, names and numbers and memories and dreams remembered and unremembered...

One assumes that the world simply is and is and is but it isn't, it is like music that we hear a moment at a time and put together in our heads. But this music, unlike other music, cannot be performed again.

I knew that my time was coming soon, I knew that I must be alert to recognize the time and place so that my death might be the best possible. But even as that thought moved through my mind it was hurried on its way by another thought coming behind it. This second thought asked whether it might not be only vanity and a striving after wind to want so much for one’s death; whether it might not be better to require nothing whatever of it or for it but simply to welcome it whenever and however it might come, to welcome it as one welcomes the stranger to whom one must always show hospitality.

With that feeling came an understanding that from then on every moment would be – indeed always had been – as the last moment. This wants to be made perfectly clear, it may be the only thing I have to say that matters; this idea has for me both the brilliance of the heart of the diamond of the universe and the inverse brilliance of the heart of the blackness in which that diamond lives: this moment that is every moment is always the last moment and it came into being with the first moment; it is that moment of creation in which there comes into being the possibility of all things and the end of all things; it is the blossoming jewel at the heart of the explosion, the calm quiet dawn at the centre of the bursting.

'To me it seems that the best we can hope for in this life is honesty of error; more than that is just not to be expected.'

'Alone and blind and endlessly voyaging I think constantly of fidelity. Fidelity is a matter of perception; nobody is unfaithful to the sea or to mountains or to death: once recognized they fill the heart. In love or in terror or in loathing one responds to them with the true self; fidelity is not an act of the will: the soul is compelled by recognitions. Anyone who loves, anyone who perceives the other person fully can only be faithful, can never be unfaithful to the sea and the mountains and the death in that person, so pitiful and heroic is it to be a human being.'

'Modern life,' said Jachin-Boaz [to the owner of the bookshop], 'particularly modern life in cities, creates great tensions in people, don't you think?'

'Modern life, ancient life,' said the owner. 'Where there's life there's tension.'

'Yes,' said Jachin-Boaz. 'Tension and nerves.  It's astonishing, really, what nerves can do."

'Well, they have a system, you see,' said the owner.  'When you suffer an attack of nerves you're being attacked by the nervous system.  What chance has a man got against a system?'

'Exactly,' said Jachin-Boaz.  'He could have delusions, hallucinations.'

'Happens every day of the week,' said the owner.  'Sometimes I, for example, have the delusion that this shop is a business.  Then I come back to reality and realize that it's just an expensive hobby.'

Dr Jim Long was born in Pennsylvania, and sometimes when his mind is pedalling in busy circles he recalls a thing from his youth. He recalls a drink of water from a mountain spring in the Appalachians. He was hot and sweaty and tired when he came upon a stone trough with water flowing into it from an iron pipe. Cold sparkling mountain water filling the trough from an iron pipe that was beaded with droplets of condensation. There were leaves and sand and tiny crayfish in the bottom of the trough. He plunged his face into the water and drank the best drink he would ever have in his life. The leaves of the trees were stirring in the summer breeze. Everything was more than itself.

 

"All roads, whether long or short, are hard," said Frog. "Come, you have begun your journey, and all else necessarily follows from that act. Be of good cheer. The sun is bright. The sky is blue. The world lies before you."

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