Friday letter(s): For Sir Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett booksDear Terry Pratchett,

I must have been about 14 when I first picked up one of your books. I’d read all my own books – most of them several times – and was bored. I don’t remember whether my dad suggested that I might like the Disc World novels or I just picked one up from the bookshelf downstairs myself, out of curiosity, but either way I was instantly hooked. Soon after, I got my own mini set with the first four books in the series. I still have those tiny books, somewhere (in England I suspect). I loved you so much that when my dad said he was getting tickets for a play of Guards! Guards! I jumped at the chance, even though going to the theatre as a teenager was “uncool”. I’ve even seen the cartoon version of Wyrd Sisters! (Anyone else?). Later, when I first got talking to my (now) boyfriend, Discworld was one of the things we discovered we had in common. My first gift to him was a copy of one of your novels (Carpe Juggulum, I believe), and to this day one of our favourite ways of spending time together is to read your novels allowed to each other. So it was fitting that he was the one to tell me the news. The text message consisted of just four words: “Terry Pratchett is dead,” followed by a sad face, and it was like a punch in the gut. Even knowing it had been coming (and let’s be honest, we all knew) didn’t make it any less of a shock. I immediately hit the Internet, hoping he had made a mistake. The first result I was confronted with was your Wikipedia page with the words “Sir Terence David John “Terry” Pratchett, OBE (28 April 1948 – 12 March 2015) was an English author of fantasy novels…” Was! Those Wikipedia editors are quick! Two results down was the BBC News article. Not long after that, the tributes started to flood my Facebook and Twitter. It was true; another legend had gone from us.

Sir Terry, ever since that first day, your books have been the ones I would turn to when nothing else would do. No matter what mood I was in, even if I was feeling too restless, down or just plain lonely to concentrate on any other book, the Discworld would always suck me in. I laughed, I cried and I learned so much about human nature and about our very own round world. Sam Vimes, The Librarian, the Nac Mac Feegle, Esme Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg, Death of Rats and, of course, DEATH himself remain among my favourite characters in literature. And as the granddaughter of somebody who has been diagnosed with dementia, I was awed by your response to your own “embuggerance”. Rather than feeling sorry for yourself, you chose to fight, to raise awareness and, above all, you handled everything with humour and humility. Any bitterness you may have felt certainly didn’t show. For that, if nothing else, you were a true inspiration.

“No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away…” – and I expect it will be a very long time before your ripples die away.

Farewell, Sir Terry Pratchett and thank you for everything!