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.

London City

I have London, London, London –
all the city, small and pretty,
in a dome that’s on my desk, a little dome.
I have Nelson on his column
and Saint Martin-in-the-Fields
and I have the National Gallery
and two trees,
and that’s what London is – the five of these.

I can make it snow in London
when I shake the sky of London;
I can hold the little city small and pretty in my hand;
then the weather’s fair in London,
in Trafalgar Square in London,
when I put my city down and let it stand.

“I’m always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,” said Muskrat. “That is why I speak as I do. You’ve heard of Muskrat’s Much-in-Little, of course?”

“No,” said the child. “What is it?”

Muskrat stopped, cleared his throat, ruffled his fur, drew himself up, and said in ringing tones, “Why times How equals What.” He paused to let the words take effect.
“That’s Muskrat’s Much-in-Little,” he said. He ruffled his fur again and slapped the ice with his tail. “Why times How equals What,” he repeated. “Strikes you all of a heap the first time you hear it, doesn’t it? Pretty well covers everything! I’m a little surprised that you haven’t heard of it before, I must say. It caused a good deal of comment both over and under the pond, and almost everyone agreed that the ripples from it were ever-widening.”

February 4 is Russell Hoban’s birthday. This yellow paper was placed here as part of an annual world-wide celebration of Hoban and his work. Your finding it and reading it makes you part of the celebration, too.

‘.... “It’s one of those crazy things, like when you read in the paper that the big brains figure the world’s going to end in 150 billion years and you think, well, we’ve got a little time yet. But a week later the big brains change their estimate to 50 billion years and you pull the covers over your head and have a nervous breakdown. Imagine! No more world and nobody to remember there was ever a world.” ’

"Every night the departure softly closes the door of the house behind it and puts its foot to the dark road; there is a continual walking into the the dark on the road away. Other nights I have lain in my bed; tonight I hear my footsteps on the road, tonight I put my feet into my footsteps and I go."

     Page one?  I didn't think so.  Suddenly the idea of turning one's experience into a story seemed not only bizarre but perverted; the idea of such a thing as page one seemed at the very least a monstrous vanity.  Where was the beginning of anything, how could I draw a line through endless cause and effrect and say, 'Here is page one' ?  Well of course one was either a storyteller or one wasn't, and it looked as if I wasn't  - all I could do was describe phenomena as I experienced them. 

In the train, Max remembers not to think out loud. People look at him and move away anyhow. "What music were we talking about?" he says to his mind.
"Hang on," says his mind. "I'm giving you a picture."

“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.”

Ah! said the walls, listening to the footfalls, it’s the silence that we like, the lovely shape of the silence between the shape of the footfalls.

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