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 hashtags #sa4qe and/or #russellhoban

  • Read Diana Slickman's article about how SA4QE began
  • The most recent posts to this site are displayed below in descending order.

    SA4QE 2022 - Roland Clare - Bristol, United Kingdom

    This quotation is from the short story The Raven.

    The road took me to the Zoo entrance […]

    When I took some grapes out of a bag one of the ravens opened its wings and the whole outspread blackness of the bird suddenly appeared in front of me. Standing on well-worn and polished black feet, it folded its wings and stuck its bill through the chain-link mesh of the cage. It was a large black bill of clerical aspect, the upper mandible hooked over the lower with a long curving point that was like a fingernail that needed trimming. A little yellow sign on the cage showed the silhouette of a hand with a large piece bitten out, so I sidled away from the raven and dropped a grape through the wire mesh […]

    How’s it going? I said to it, not speaking aloud but with my mind. 

    Well, you know, said the raven, also not speaking aloud, there’s not a lot happening here. […]  

    How can you live without flying? I said to the raven. How do you get through the days? How do you not go crazy? 

    The raven looked at me for a while, the little round eye-mirror blinked like a camera shutter. Lots of people live without flying, it said. 

    But you used to have the whole sky to move around in. 

    Wait a minute, said the raven. 

    What?

    How do I know I’m not talking to myself? Maybe I’m just imagining this conversation. 

    I’ve been thinking that very same thought, I said. Tell me what to do to show that I’m receiving you. 

    Hold out your arms and flap them up and down. 

    I held out my arms and flapped them up and down. 

    ‘What’s that man doing?’ said a passing child to its mother. 

    ‘Perhaps he’s trying to get above himself,’ she said. 

    I’ve given you a sign, I said to the raven. How about you? Walk in a circle round your bath if it’s really you speaking to me. 

    With its old-man walk the raven slowly walked around the bath. Then it came back to where I stood. You were saying, it said. Its voice in my mind had changed: it was all around me in vast and reverberant diapason, as if rebounding from the face of a black escarpment that ringed the horizon under a grey and primordial sky. 

    It was a giant voice of supernatural power, and a thrill of fear went through me as the raven grew before my eyes. The cage and the zoo seemed to have faded away; the raven loomed over me […] 

    How could I ever have been such a fool as to speak to it as if I were its equal?

    Filed under Bristol United Kingdom The Moment under The Moment

    SA4QE 2022 - Alan Gasser - Facebook, Canada

    Can't remember the exact quotation, and couldn't find the rare, first-edition of Tom and the Two Handles. But sometimes ... there's only one way to grab a problem, so I typed it on a virtual yellow sheet and posted: https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=10165880142640253&set=a.111361740252

    Well, said Tom's father, sometimes a problem is like a shovel, and only has one handle.

    [more or less, i.e. from memory, which may be faulty]

    Filed under Facebook Canada Tom and the Two Handles

    SA4QE 2022 - Yvonne Studer - Zürich, Switzerland

    This year, Russ would have turned 97 already. Hard to believe it‘s been 17 years since a group of fans met in London to celebrate our favourite writer‘s 80th birthday. The tradition of spreading quotations from his work on his birthday started earlier than, and went on regularly after, our „Somepoasyum“, and I have been doing my best to take part almost every year. However, this year I did not just want to hang up quotations printed on yellow A4 paper but decided to place spare copies of Turtle Diary in our school library and on a community bookcase in our neighbourhood. To combat the leaden atmosphere of these days requires the release of a lot more positive energy and I thought that getting the book rather than just a quotation might spread some „joie de vivre“ to the lucky finders. I definitely got something in return too. I had a lovely conversation on literature with one of our school librarians and am feeling just a little happier again than I did before because I didn‘t listen to the negative voice in my head that told me to let it be. My quotation from Turtle Diary was placed inside the books, with a reference to the SA4QE event and the Russell Hoban website, and finders were explicitly allowed to keep the book if they like it.

    I think of the turtles swimming steadily against the current all the way to Ascension. I think of them swimming through all that golden-green water over the dark, over the chill of the deeps and the jaws of the dark. And I think of the sun over the water, the sun through the water, the eye holding the sun, being held by it with no thought and only the rhythm of the going, the steady wing-strokes of the flippers in the water.

    Filed under Zürich Switzerland Turtle Diary

    SA4QE 2022 - Ra McGuire - White Rock, Canada

    Happy Birthday, Russ, in this second year of our COVID, 2022. I wonder what you would have made of this. 

    There is an actual stage door, here in White Rock, BC to which I could have taped this stage-door-related quote. It's an unmarked brown door, surrounded by a broad expanse of unremarkable brown wall. A proper picture of The White Rock Players Club, taken from across the street, would show only a pinpoint of yellow, over near the left corner. 

    So I've taped my yellow paper to a tourist map (of the Gulf and San Juan Islands) at the beach, very near the spot where I left my first yellow paper those many years ago. Here's to 2022, everyone. Trubba not. 

    If reality had a stage door I’d hang around there and see what came out after the show.

    Filed under White Rock Canada Amaryllis Night and Day

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