Blog,  Love Letters,  Reflections

Death is having a Near-Pratchett Experience

On March 12, 2015, Terry Pratchett’s twitter account posted the following:

And all Terry Pratchett’s fanbase reading those posts felt various levels of this:

And my first thought was a quote from Thud!. Commander Vimes of the Ankh Morkpork City Watch falls a very long way into an underwater river, over a waterfall, down, down into a huge, cavern, where he trudges and scrapes for who knows how long. He fights back the madness and the uncertainty of the overpowering darkness. When he’s about to collapse of exhaustion, he meets Death, sitting in a well-lit folding chair, reading a book. Vimes asks Death if he’s dead, but Death says, in his typical all-capitalized way:


Except that Terry, the man who wrote that charming sentence, is the one who actually died.
And he’ll be near death…rather permanently.

I don’t have anything new to add to the discussion of his death or his life, at least not that I haven’t mentioned before, regarding his impact on my life as a reader and writer. I just knew I absolutely had to add my voice to the throng of fans who are sad to see such a talented and brilliant man go, but are glad his suffering is over, after years of battling early-onset Alzheimers. Whether Death will listen to our pleas to bring him back is yet to be determined.

But I just need to say goodbye in my own way. So here’s my meager contribution to the internet-wide eulogy.

I first heard the name Terry Pratchett when I went to my best friend’s graduation, met some of her well-read friends, and got talking about book recommendations. (This is the same conversation where I first heard of steampunk. It was a life-altering discussion, what can I say?). Terry was on the list of must-read authors, and I got my feet wet with Maskerade. As I read more of his books, and got further recommendations of which characters to follow, I was completely enamored by his hysterical, dry-wit writing style. It reminded me so much of Monty Python.

I was very sad to learn of his early-onset Alzheimer’s, and sadly I didn’t read as much of his stuff in subsequent years because, let’s face it, there’s way too much to read. But Thud! has remained my very, very favorite, so far. I’ve given the book as as a present to another avid reader, and recommended it many times over. It’s one of the few books that I’ve re-read, and I’m typically not a re-reader, even of my favorites.

Everything else that is dear to me about this gem of a man, you, my blog readers already know. I wrote a post about him during my first year on this blog, and I wrote about him last year as someone whose writing will always stick with me. I told a short anecdote about bringing Thud! with me to a car appointment, where I laughed out loud in the sitting area over two blue collar cops talking about high art.

Terry’s writing voice taught me so much about writing and humor, and led me on to read other amazing authors with similar styles, particularly Douglas Adams (whose birthday was actually on the 11th). His wonderful satire and incredible word pictures stick with me, and I’m a berter author for it, I think.

So, with that. Thank you, Terry. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Need to find the artist so I can credit them.
Having a hard time finding the name of the artist. Will post when I do.

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