“May you live in interesting times” is a curse somewhere on the Discworld. But Terry Pratchett has always done his best to let us live inside his interesting stories. Though, they were much more than merely interesting.
I came to Terry Pratchett relatively late. I had heard of the Discworld novels, but hadn’t read any of them until a co-worker in my job in New Zealand recommended them to me. He read them during his lunch breaks every day. I read my books alongside him and eventually we started to talk about the books we were reading.
Finally I researched the Discworld novels to figure out what the reading order was and simply started with the first one. I’ve read every book that had been available at the time, the latest one being “Wintersmith”. It took me about 10 months to read them all, one after the other.
Sufficient to say that I fell in love with the whole lot. I love the witches, the night watch and the unseen university wizards, especially later in the series. My favourite characters are undoubtedly Granny Weathwax and Tiffany Aching.
When I started reading Terry Pratchett, he had already been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s; his rare form of PCA (posterior cortical atrophy) affecting parts in the back of the brain rather badly by shrivelling and shrinking it.
After finishing all his Discworld novels, I wondered how many more there could be under these circumstances. Instead of waiting for new books, I also found his other YA novels and read those. And then a new Discworld novel was published.
I was over the moon when I heard about his collaboration with Stephen Baxter.
Terry Pratchett remained productive despite his diagnosis. And he once said that he didn’t what to do if he couldn’t write. So he kept writing.
I will have to go back to the Discworld novels soon and start rereading them. The only book I don’t much care for is “Eric”. Perhaps I’ll skip that one. But there are still a few of his books that he published in the last two years that I’ve not had a chance to read yet, so I still have some of his new material ahead of me.
But never being able to read a new Tiffany Aching novel makes me sad. Who knows if anything is left to be published posthumously. We will have to wait and see.
I wasn’t surprised to hear about Sir Terry’s passing. I think most of us have somehow been preparing ourselves for the news. But when I heard that he had indeed left this realm, I was very sad indeed. We lost a brilliant writer and a precious human being.
Yesterday I went to see “Still Alice” with Julianne Moore, which earned her the Academy Award. It was an intense film, very well done, but also a painful reminder of Terry Pratchett’s passing, though his Alzheimer’s was a rather different nature. Given by how many people are affected by Alzheimer’s it’s surprising how little the research is funded.
I know of only two ways of honouring one of my favourite writers: by donating to his Alzheimer’s fund and by continuing to write.
I write every day. I am a freelance writer. But these days I rarely write my own stuff. Even this blog hasn’t seen an update for the longest time. I need to make more time for my own stories, because I can’t become part of someone else’s story.