Today I got the news from Cern via a phone call that he heard on the news that Terry Pratchett had passed away over night.
My heart sank.
He is my favourite author of all time.
His way with words were magical. He knew everything about everything. If you’ve never read anything of his, I urge you to at least go and pick up Good Omens. It was his collaboration with Neil Gaiman where they wrote a chapter each and emailed it backwards and forwards, each writing a chapter until the book was finished. And the product? A side-splitting hilarious view of a pre-apocalyptic world with visits from some of my favourite Discworld characters and some wonderfully new characters that you feel in love with.
His wit, his humour, his writing… He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease not that long ago and the world of his fans collapsed just that little bit. We knew this day was coming, we all knew that one day he was going to deteriorate. But so soon? Not so soon. We weren’t ready – but obviously he was.
He was a great advocate of euthanasia. He believed that we all had the right to die when we wanted to die as opposed to living with disease and dying a slow agonising death. I think for a creative writer Alzheimer’s is the worst thing that could happen to you. The worlds you created would fade, one by one… It broke my heart when he shared with the rest of the world that he had this disease. For his prose got me through my 20’s. It made me see the humour in life, it made me see the dark side of life and still come out laughing. Discworld was and still is a place that I can disappear to for hours with my favourite characters in tow. Death. Susan. Rhimes. The witches & Greebo. There were the hero’s & Hogfather. A place of magic, superstition, common sense and a good dose of “wake the fuck up”edness. If you ever want to read something that makes you see society in a different light, then read some discworld. A world orbiting around the universe on the back of 4 elephants on top of a giant turtle can’t be that bad right? And those astro-zoologists wanted to find out the sex of the turtle… which leads to the first book of Discworld. The colour of magic…
You see, he not only founded a whole world, he founded all the characters on it. The books… all of them. Carry across a lot of characters and there are going to be some you love, some you hate and some that you can’t help but laugh at continuously.
Now don’t get me wrong, Terry Pratchett not only wrote Discworld stories, he wrote others too. Fantasy. Fiction. Sci Fi. He wrote up Granny Weatherwax’s Cookbooks, there’s children’s stories and board games. There are cards and an online MUD (a multiplayer text based game online) still floating around.
My first introduction to him was through my very first boyfriend. He had a bookshelf. It was full of Discworld books. I asked him one day what the coloured spines of all the books were about. He explained Terry Pratchett’s world to me and said I should have a read. And since then I’ve never looked back. The first book I read was Hogfather. And I’ve devoured everything he’s written since. From his children’s books to his other books.
To say that he isn’t going to be missed is a total lie. To say that I didn’t shed a tear is also a lie. He will be missed, his worlds will be missed and most of all, his words and his presence will be missed.
So vale, Mr Pratchett. Vale.
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May the goddess hold you in the palm of her hand.