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Thursday, 4 February 2010

Contribute your favourite Russell Hoban quote for SA4QE 2010!

Russell Hoban, sometime in the 1970s.Yes, it's that time of year again, when The Slickman A4 Quotation Event does what it does best - celebrates the work and words of author Russell Hoban, who turns 85 today! Many happy returns, Russ :-)

If you have a favourite quote from a Hoban book, there are a number of ways you can take part in SA4QE and share it with fellow fans and the world at large - write it on a piece of paper and leave it in a public place, blog it, tweet it, Facebook it, film it... whatever tickles your fancy. If you want to submit your quote to this website complete with pictures and a personal narrative, as many others have done around the world since 2002, you need to email everything to sa4qemail [at] gmail [dot] com. Please note your post may not appear on this site immediately, as the webmaster is in London today 4qating! Thus, for the moment (under the moment) you can also leave your quote below as a comment on this post.

See also: A Full List of Things You Can Do On SA4QE Day and How To Take Part in SA4QE and Contribute to This Website.

Photo: found on Google Images by Mike Shuttleworth, attributed to Corbis, probably a publicity shot from sometime in the 1970s. If anyone has full details of the photographer/owner of the photo please contact us on sa4qemail [at] gmail [dot] com. Ta.


  1. 1st 4qation of the day, as received from one Lorna Elswint (a proper entry will be made later):


    "When we gone out thru the gate there wer a kid up on the hy walk sames I use to be up there all times of nite when I wer a kid. 7 or 8 he wer may be. Sharp little face liting and shaddering in the shimmying of the gate house torches. Sharp littl face and he begun to sing:

    ‘Riddley Walkers ben to show
    Riddley Walkers on the go
    Dont go Riddley Walkers track
    Drop Johns ryding on his back.’

    Now whered that kid ever hear of Drop John and what put it in his mynd to sing that of me? Why dint I ask him? I dont know. May be I dint want to know.

    Why is Punch crookit? Why wil he always kil the babby if he can? Parbly I wont never know its jus on me to think on it.

    Riddley Walkers ben to show
    Riddley Walkers on the go
    Dont go Riddley Walkers track
    Drop Johns ryding on his back.

    Stil I wunt have no other track."

    from Riddley Walker (final page)

    THE DROP: Through the streets of Thebarton and Mile End, Adelaide South Australia

    THE PICTURES: On Flickr. Tagged.

    ME: Lorna Elsewint, Tel Woman

  2. On my blog, PUTTING WORDS DOWN ON PAPER -, today's Birthday Wishes post is to Russell Hoban. Stop by and wish him a Happy 85th Birthday!

  3. This just in from John Hand:

    Hello Gombert and All,

    I 4qated the following in drizzling Melbourne:

    "'Stupid,' he said. 'I'm not going to stab anybody.' He moved a little way up Surrey Street towards the Strand, muttering to himself, 'For the first time I think of time as a sphere, as a globe on which, at various intersections of latitude and longitude, all things past and present are located, some near, some far from where I am. I'm thinking of Crazy Horse. On that great globe of Time, in western plains across the ocean, herds of long-gone buffalo make the ground shake and shadow hoofbeats sound down endless trails of sleep. Who am I that I should think of that strange one, the mystic, the great warrior who painted himself with lightning and hail and wore a little stone behind his ear? Riding into battle he shouted, "Hoka hey! It's a good day to die!" Now in the long yesterday of the place that once was his the visions flicker but there is no one to see them. In Paris at the Crazy Horse Saloon the naked dancers shake and wiggle for the tourists."

    Wow. It's from Angelica's Grotto, which is wholly brilliant. Madness has never been so natural - hoka hey!

    I blu-tacked the 4qation onto the underside of this strange sculpture titled *Vault*, which itself looks like a tribute to yellow paper and hence Russell Hoban. It was originally erected in central Melbourne but the public weren't ready for it, though it's now beginning to slowly gain the recognition and love it deserves....

    Happy birthday, and thank you, Russ. Thanks Gombert for your efforts, too.


  4. The following in Bristol from Roland Clare:

    from Turtle Diary

    … The Original Therapy lady was a rampant-looking woman of about forty. Shiny red hair in the style of old musical films, tight white trousers, gold sandals, silver toenails, bursting purple silk blouse. Swarthy boyfriend with a St Christopher medal and a racing-driver watch strap.

    Her name was Ruby and she sounded as though she lived in a caravan, her voice and her way of talking. She began to tell us about her therapy while some of the people in the room sat in lotus positions with very straight backs and others held their heads. One girl wailed a little now and then, another muttered the whole time.

    She was American, this Ruby. Told us how she’d knocked about, been a rodeo rider, done roller derbies, wrestled, had three husbands and all kinds of troubles. Discovered her Original Therapy whilst wrestling one night. Another lady had a scissors grip on her and was squeezing very hard, got a bit over-enthusiastic and wouldn’t let go. Under the pressure Ruby experienced a strange alteration of consciousness.

    “I was seeing all kinds of coloured lights

    and shooting sparks,” she said, “and the sound of the crowd was beginning to come and go like the roar of surf far away. Something began to happen to me. I could feel myself going way way down and way way back, like thousands of years, millions of years, glaciers coming and going and the dinosaurs sinking into the swamps and the primitive trees being crushed into coal. Farther back than that even, crawling out of a warm ocean and gasping on the beach and beyond that back to the sea and smaller and smaller, all the way back to a single cell. And back beyond that to nothing, just the warm sea, what they call the primordial soup.”

    Ruby went farther than the soup even, she got to a point where there was nothing, no time, no her, no anything. Then there came something like the idea of a question, a kind of original YES? or NO? It put itself together as YES. There was a mystical green pattern with no sound, then a red explosion in Ruby’s mind and the people in the ringside seats were picking the other lady wrestler out of their laps. That was the turning point in Ruby’s life, going back to the origins of life and finding the big YES, and she was going to show us slides and then demonstrate her therapy …

  5. This just in from Dana C.:

    I've been 4qating for a few years now, but this is the first time I've chosen to contribute to the site. I'm a lurker on the Kraken yahoo list, and I guess this is as good a way as any for me to say "happy 85th birthday, Russ" and "I'm out here, fellow Hobanites"! ;)

    The quote I chose this year is one that resonates with me as one of those pieces that just catch in my eye as I read, and I find I have to go back and read it several times, to let the words melt into me and become part of me. I love the phrasing here; it is one of my absolute favourite passages in a Hoban book. It comes from The Medusa Frequency:

    "There's no end to me, no limit, no way to define or measure me, no way of knowing what I am or how much of me there is. There is an endless surging and undulating of me, and endless cycle of ebb and flow: that is called the sea. Little moments of me have lines drawn before and after and these moments are given names like Orpheus and Eurydice and they become stories. But I am wordless, heaving in the ocean night of me, stirring in the dark trees, breathing in and breathing out my soul."

    It's just such a poetic stream of words. What a beautiful way of seeing oneself, and one's place in the world.

    I'm going to take my yellow paper and tuck it into a journal at a bookstore later this evening, or slip it between the pages of a diary -- so that someday, when someone goes to populate the blank pages with words of their own, they might find Russ's, and a spark of inspiration might come to them.

    As ever, thank you for your words, Russ, and all the inspiration you've given to me, personally, as a writer.

    A very merry 85th birthday, and my sincere best wishes.

    Cheers from Michigan, USA!

    Dana C.

  6. Thanks to all who participated (and are still participating) in this year's SA4QE! It makes February a little warmer for me to know this is going on.



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