Yesterday this Universe lost someone magnificent. The world should be darker because of this, quieter, and while for many it certainly seems that way, this silent shadow will pass. The world is not darker because he is gone, it is brighter because he lived in it. The world is not quieter, it rings out with adoration and laughter. Above all, this world is warmer, because Sir Terry Pratchett touched so many of us, in so many ways.
I received my first Pratchett book when I was in school, my friend came up to me and said “Richard says to give you this, because you like that sort of thing”. Richard is my friends Uncle, word got to him that I liked fantasy (and reading) so as encouragement, books came my way. I also received a Terry Brooks and Robert Jordan books, Magic the Gathering cards, but the creased cover of Soul Music with it’s illustration by Josh Kirby grabbed my attention.
I don’t remember much about my first reading, but I remember looking at the list of books at the front of the book. Soul Music was in the middle! This was ridiculous, I should start at the beginning! I went on a mission to find The Colour of Magic, a few days later, I moved on to devour The Light Fantastic, my love affair with Discworld was born.
I certainly wouldn’t consider myself a Pratchett Superfan, I can’t quote Vimes at will (Nanny Ogg is my favourite anyway), I haven’t read every book (I’m at Feet of Clay) and I can’t say that I ever met Sir Terry (I was in the same room as him once, but at the back of the crowd when it came to meet and greet). I am what you’d call a binge reader, Discworld is almost like a drug to me, I get a craving and devour a few books, and then slow down again, or life gets in the way, I did try to start Moving Pictures five times before I got to the end because sometimes life likes to butt in when a good book is involved.
However, you don’t need to be a Superfan to have been touched by this man. He has brought laughter and joy to so many, and like many Pratchett fans, I like to push my addiction onto others. I believe that original Soul Music book went to my Godfather and every present there after involved a Pratchett book. My friends are all Discworld fans too, it allows for some funny side comments and easy present giving. My Boyfriend introduced me to the Discworld games, I still haven’t finished them yet but its a whole other dimension to the Discworld that makes me giggle. Oh and lets not forget making everyone sit down to watch the Hogfather at Christmas the year it was released!
Like many people, Sir Terry touched me in non traditional author-reader ways. Shortly after my Nana was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Sir Terry announced that he too was suffering, and though he did not share the same strain of the illness, he helped to bring it kicking and screaming into the light. I have not yet seen his documentary “Choosing to Die” as when it was released my Nana was very ill, and I’ll be honest, the thought of watching it scared me, so I avoided it, I wasn’t ready. Having Sir Terry talk so openly about his embuggerance and treat it with the same sense of humour and frame of mind that he seemed to treat everything else was almost comforting… I guess it’s hard to explain.
I wrote recently about how I was diagnosed with depression last July, but what I neglected to mention was it also sparked another Discworld binge session. When my creative juices were switched off it was such a relief to switch off the rest of my brain too and retreat to Discworld, it made me laugh (often out loud) and it also gave me an escape from all the craziness that was going on in my own world at the time. Discworld helped to reignite my imagination when I felt it was gone for good. When reading through the tributes online I noticed I was not the only one with depression and anxiety issues that Sir Terry had helped.
So you see, for many it was so much more that an author-reader relationship, Sir Terry spoke to us about many things and because of him I have learned to see even the crappiest of situations with a sense of wicked humour. I am of course a firm believer than 1 in a million chances will work out 9 times out of 10, so I guess in some cases Sir Terry has also made me slightly braver. He has brought a huge clatter of people together, and every single one of them will mourn his passing him their own way, but together we will be glad for the honour to have shared the world with him.
Rest In Peace, Sir Terry Pratchett…
… and thank you.