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Wednesday, 4 February 2004

Dave Awl 2004

This year, like last year, I found myself arranging a series of quotations into a kind of narrative structure. I chose ten quotations from five different Hoban books, starting with quotations about waking up, and moving on to quotations dealing with how we relate to the waking world. I arranged them in sequence on the page, set them in different fonts, and printed out 12 copies, a limited edition. Next year I'm thinking of numbering them (e.g., "#3 of 12"), like an art print. I'll include the full text of my yellow paper at the end of this report, since it's rather long and I'd rather tell the 4Qation story first.

Since I'd already 4Qated two years running in my home neighborhood of Andersonville, and last year I 4Quated Wicker Park (where I DJ), this year I decided to 4Quate Lakeview, where most of my favorite restaurants, bookstores and music shops are.

I left my apartment a little before 6pm on Hoban Day 2004, provisioned with an ample supply of yellow papers, a disposable camera, and the irrepressible urge to 4Qate. My first stop of the evening was a haircut at my charmingly misspelled local salon, Klassy Kut. I caught the #50 Damen bus down to Foster where the salon was, and briefly considered 4Qating in the rear section of the bus, but decided that since I was only going a few blocks there wasn't enough time to 4Qate properly. I believe that a certain amount of 4Qplay is not only necessary for a satisfying 4Qation, but is every bit as important as the actual moment of 4Qasm itself. So, with pride in my restraint, I delayed 4Qation until after my haircut.

From Klassy Kut I headed down to the Lakeview neighborhood, and a nice Thai dinner at Joy's Noodles on Broadway, where I finally succumbed to the urge to 4Qate for the first time that evening, discreetly in the washroom.

From there I headed a few doors south to Specialty Video, where I 4Qated in the Foreign Film section, leaving a folded yellow paper tucked neatly behind Il Postino.

I briefly considered 4Qating at my favorite bookstore, Unabridged Books, but the place is fairly small and the staff there know me and my ways pretty well, so there was no way to 4Qate without seeming heavy-handed about it.

So I caught the #36 Broadway bus a bit further south. As I got on the bus, I was scanning the back of my bus transfer for the cut-off time to make sure it was still good. "Don't worry," said the driver, "you'll make it." Slight pause, and then, with a conspiratorial grin, "... It's a magic bus."

How thoughtful of the Chicago Transit Authority to send out the magic buses in honor of Hoban Day, I thought. Perhaps there's hope for them after all. Thus encouraged, I 4Qated in the rear section of the magic bus before exiting at Diversey.

Yellow Paper, seated on the magic bus. Below: The tail lights of the magic bus, departing ...

I then entered the demesnes of a large corporate chain bookstore, which I won't name and where I didn't take any pictures, because they get all the advertising they need. But they do attract a lot of readers who ought to be 4Qated unto, so I tucked a yellow paper between two copies of Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities, and then another inside one of the free weekly papers stacked up in the lobby.

I then caught the #22 Clark Street bus down to Tower Records. The #22 bus driver didn't allude to any magical powers, but I like to think he was just being modest. I 4Qated in the rear section again, then exited at Belden and rode the escalator up to Tower Records, where I spent a while browsing before 4Qating three more times: I left one folded yellow paper tucked among the CDs of Leonard Cohen, another among the Thelonious Monk discs, and the final one I left in the custody of Jeff Buckley. Hallelujah.

Having thus 4Qated nine times in the course of about four hours, I figured I'd better call it a Hoban Day before I caused myself a vitamin deficiency or something, so I headed home to rest and reflect. Here's the text of my yellow paper for 2004:

In the morning I came awake as I always do, like a man trapped in a car going over a cliff.
— The Medusa Frequency

I exist, said the mirror.

What about me? said Kleinzeit.

Not my problem, said the mirror.

— Kleinzeit

A turtle doesn't have to decide every morning whether to keep on bothering, it just carries on. Maybe that's why man kills everything: envy.
— Turtle Diary

Is there a story of me? I asked myself. Am I in it?
— The Medusa Frequency

Sometimes I think that this whole thing, this whole business of a world that keeps waking itself up and bothering to go on every day, is necessary only as a manifestation of the intolerable. The intolerable is like H.G. Wells's invisible man, it has to put on clothes in order to be seen. So it dresses itself up in a world. Possibly it looks in a mirror but my imagination doesn't go that far.
— Turtle Diary

The year 1933 was full of many things. Showing with King Kong was a documentary film on Hitler's rise to power. In 1933 there was Goebbels officiating at a book burning. 'You do well this midnight hour,' he said, 'to exorcise the past in these flames.' Exorcise the past. Surely that thought alone was sufficient evidence of madness. But more and more I think that madness is the world's natural condition and to expect anything else is madness compounded. In the train derailment scene in King Kong the engine-driver could not believe his eyes when he saw Kong's face rising through the gap where he'd torn away the tracks but that was just another day in 1933. That trains mostly stay on rails, that the streets are mostly peaceful, that the square continues green and quiet below my window is more than I have any right to expect, and it happens every day.
— Turtle Diary

It is the longing for what cannot be that moves the world from night to morning.
— "Kong and the Vermeer Girl," introduction to the text of The Second Mrs. Kong

Near where William lives there was a dead cat by a bus stop, pretty well flattened out. He looked as if he'd been run over by a lorry. A grey stripy tom he was with a head like a Roman senator, one eye open, one eye shut. His whole corpse seemed expressive of the WHAM! when his life met his death. He looked as if he'd been one hundred percent alive until the lorry closed his account in the flower of his tomcathood and his mortal remains were cheerful rather than depressing. To live with a yowl and die with a WHAM! Thinking about him whilst walking back I stopped and wrote:

Stiff but not formal

A dead cat says hello

This winter morning.
— Turtle Diary

If you cud even jus see 1 thing clear the woal of whats in it you cud see every thing clear. But you never wil get to see the woal of any thing youre all ways in the middl of it living it or moving thru it.
— Riddley Walker

Camden Station is the windiest tube station I know. Coming up on the escalator with my hair flying I felt as if I was coming out of a dark place into the light, and I laughed because that's what I was actually doing.
— Turtle Diary

* * *

Compliments of The Kraken — SA4QE 2004

~ ~ ~ ~

... thus endeth the 4Qation report.


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