March 12th saw the death of one of my favourite authors Terry Pratchett OBE. I have spent countless hours of my life flicking through already well thumbed paperbacks looking for that one witty turn of phrase that summed up my feelings perfectly, or recounting those story plots of such imagination and ingenuity amazed how anyone could put together a world so weird, so impossible, and yet so utterly believable and somehow rooted in reality.
“Don’t think of it as dying.. Just think of it as leaving early to avoid the rush.” Good Omens.
I remember reading his announcement that he was suffering with Alzheimers, and my first thought confess was utterly selfish: who is going to finish lives he started, those stories? What can I replace those yearly trips to waterstones for the latest book about the Watch, or trolls or dwarfs, which echo so brilliantly modern day conflicts, racism and individual imperfections.
“Most gods throw dice, but Fate plays chess, and you don’t find out till too late that he’s been playing with two queens all along”
But reading his bravery in drawing attention to what the disease does to people, the lack of research into it compared to cancer, encouraging people to talk about it, the debate around euthanasia, and his fears of losing himself, it became ever more striking how unfair it was to him, at the height of his powers, to be denied the enjoyment of his successes, and us the enjoyment of his words.
The simple task of stringing words together to create from nothing over 70 books, adding worlds and images to Humanity’s creation, far beyond the limitations of our own universe; a flat disk balanced on the back of four elephants that stand on the back of a giant turtle, trolls with fans on their head to cool their silicon brains, wizard staffs with knobs on the end, Gods in the form of a tortoise, magical cubes that make noises like chickens, disorganisers falling through the wrong trousers of time, Ronnie Soak the fifth horseman of the apocalypse, the delights of chocolate, Death who takes a break..
What else can be said.. There will be no more. Such a loss to us all.
“Terry took Death’s arm and followed him through the doors and on to the black desert under the endless night… The End.”