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Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Ruth Bosch 2009

My original Russmuss Day intention was to walk across Paris, from my apartment to the renowned books-in-English bookstore, Shakespeare and Company, but the stairway of the local Metro stop gestured irresistibly down towards the coherence of The Underground and it struck me all of a heap that this was the way to go so I did.

The station is being refurbished by nightly wall removal and daily graffiti revival. I was not expecting such an immediate 4quage, but a sign edge spoke to me without any hesitation at all and I responded, slid a quote into the gap, felt oddly invisible, and hoped to blend in with the non-quotation-bearing citizens. There was a quick shift in the space behind me, like that of a beach-dug hole filling instantly with seawater. I turned and saw two women already talking about what they read, very animated, curious, and reading again.

Similar experience at Odeon in terms of an instant audience.

The Metro posters are a constant joy due to the constant amendments inflicted upon them.

I could hardly believe my eyes, but remembered the thoroughgoing Hobanification of the world that I always experience on February 4ths.

I had already looked at the used books on the shelves outside of Shakespeare & Co. the week before, and hoped that the copy of Kleinzeit was still there.

It was.

Juuuust as I reached towards it a black dog appeared right behind me, without a person. I goggled. Or doggled, possibly. The shop door opened and a young man called the dog in. Her name was Colette and I followed her. "Excuse me", I said to them both. "I am part of a group who leaves quotations from the writer Russell Hoban for people to find. We do this every year on his birthday. Black dogs are important to him. I was just about to put a quotation in one of his books out here and your black dog came and stood next to me. Would you mind if I took a picture of her?" "That's incredible", he said as he put her leash on, "yes, of course, but she's not very good, I mean, she probably won't......sit...." and at the word "sit", she sat. Briefly.

Another paper leaving tribe, for variety, on the pavement.

The notice board outside Shakespeare and Co, with a yellow predisposition. It was as if it knew.

Two interior quotation leavings.

There were three Hoban books; you cannot see that the first one is Riddley Walker. The staff recommendation pinned to the shelf below it is for Half Life, by Shirley Jackson, a book about a post nuclear holocaust world.

I crossed the river to Notre Dame and looked for a good place there, but somehow the act of attaching didn't feel quite right, something about Scotch tape and all that stone, and then I saw the moon and approximated as best I could, with fidelity in mind. Always.

A walk along the Seine, past the booksellers' stands...

...and the Velib stable, which offered a surprising visual quotation of Olaf's stellar sonar animation.

One of a pair of guardian lions being well protected in an antique shop window.

I wondered if the first quote would still be hanging there, tapeless, in the homeward reach of the evening, gravity being what it is. But it was.

Gravity being what it is.

Et voila.

Diana's original description of sa4qe mentioned, somewhere in it, that she herself liked the idea because it was small and private. That was the chord that rang for me back then and so I have done my yearly bit on the quiet, with a particular aversion towards documentation, but this year, somehow, the sheer love for all of the rest of you translated into a different chord.

I do not have my books with me here and copied everything from the sa4qe website, an activity I now think of as "echoquation". I printed out a few pages of each quote, carried them in a bag, and, without looking, pulled one out at each place that spoke to me.

They are:

To be and not to be. That is the answer.

from Fremder

After all, when you come right down to it, how many people speak the same language even when they speak the same language?

from The Lion of Boaz-Jachin and Jachin-Boaz

Fidelity is a matter of perception: nobody is unfaithful to the sea or to mountains or to death: once recognized they fill the heart.

from The Medusa Frequency

At the bottom of every page is written: "This quotation is further evidence of the world-wide birthday celebration that accumulates in rampant appreciation of the writer Russell Hoban. February 4, 2009"

Much Love to Russ, to Everyone,



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