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

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The most recent posts to this site are displayed below in descending order.

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 The Medusa Frequency The Moment under The Moment

SA4QE 2014 - Andrew M - Sheffield, United Kingdom

I've contributed to SA4QE over the last few years, but usually by the skin of my teeth, for various reasons. This year an archetypal 'bad day at work' left me in no frame of mind to consider choosing quotes or find inventive places to distribute them. As a result, my yellow paper quotes went out into the world the day after Russ' birthday, in the morning on my way to my necessary, but hated job. The quotations themselves were chosen not as firm favourites, but by a quite random method. I haven't re-read much Hoban lately, instead working through an endlessly replenished reading list of second-hand purchases by other authors, including the late Iain Banks 'Culture' novels. So I decided to give luck a role in choosing. To fit the date, I chose the fourth chapter from several novels, and started looking for a quotation in the second paragraph. Most of the time it worked very well.

“‘Nameless here for evermore’ she said. ‘Names are pretty useless really. If you say the name of anything ten or twenty times it scatters and falls away and the thing that’s named stands there all naked and unknowable’. 

The night before I had actually tried to nip out and plant yellow paper, but thrashing rain and wind kept me inside. I imagined a soggy yellow lump of paper, stained with black ink and thought it better to wait. If it hadn't been February I'd have said it was 'Novembering hard'.

The next morning I walked down to catch a  tram in the overcast half-light, eyes scanning for likely 'targets'. I thought the tram stop shelter looked a likely place for yellow paper discovery, with a steady flow of human traffic.  I tucked an excerpt from ‘Amaryllis Night and Day’ into the timetable board. 

"Pas the sarvering gallack seas and flaming nebyul eye, 

Power us beyont the farthes reaches of the sky,

Thine the han what shapit the black

Guyd us there and guyd us back”.

Sat on the tram, I toyed with the idea of slipping my next yellow paper into a copy of the Metro (the nation’s ‘most popular’ free newspaper) and left it on the seat beside me. But instead of someone picking it up and being entranced,  the next passenger to arrive just went and sat on it. Once their gluteous departed, I rescued the yellow paper and instead left it in the Metro dispenser at the terminus. The picture was snapped with my phone, and accurately conveys my state of mind that morning.

Filed under Sheffield United Kingdom Amaryllis Night and Day Riddley Walker

SA4QE 2014 - Debby Trimmer - Anchorage AK, United States

I have a Friend's card; I like the way they nod me through when I show it: I'm not a stranger.  I always feel good in museums.  I like the high ceilings and the acoustics, the footsteps and the voices, the silence over and under the footsteps and voices and the individual silences of each thing, all of them different, all of them holding a long-departed Now.

Filed under Anchorage AK United States The Bat Tattoo

SA4QE 2014 - Brynaussie Gwenda - Sydney Australia, Australia

His birthday will always be a celebration for me and a time to introduce him to a new audience.  So I left my quote at Museum Station, Sydney.  A very old, very deep underground station which feels to be inhabited by so many trapped in the great vessel of the alone

“In the storm a safe place, a calm and wild place.  Oh the great secret.  The forever-moment that has always been and will always be, the centre to which the universe configures itself.  The magic place, the good blackness.  The dancing of the heat on the infinite sands, the pyramids, the ziggurats, the lightning and the sphinxes of it, the pleasant palaces and rainbows.  Now the satyrs are quiet and full-fed, now they sleep while the wild dogs howl.  Broken is the great vessel of the alone, the aloneness is all spilt out.  Broken the forty jars of silence wherein I crouched like forty dead thieves.  Broken, broken, broken the solitary madness where the lizard-men ran silent on the ceiling of my mind.  How they screamed and wept, how they dropped and one by one burst on the stone of Yes.  The Yes of the death of the lizard-men.”

"Broken is the great vessel of the alone, the aloneness is all spilt out."  I have always loved that imagery, my mind has seen what that looks like in all its glory.

Filed under Sydney Australia Australia Fremder