If you haven’t heard the news of Sir Terry Pratchett’s final trip into Discworld on the arm of DEATH himself, then go forth and acquaint yourself. I’ll wait here while you google it…
I have been a Kevin (my own favourite designation for a STP Fan) since I started earning my own money and buying my own books – about the age of 13. I’d read the Bromeliad Trilogy when I was a little younger and loved it, so when I suddenly had the money to buy my own books, I jumped at the chance to pick up “The Colour of Magic.”
Reading it was like a light-bulb flickering into life in my head.
I’d always loved Fantasy (Eddings, Tolkien, Lewis, Carroll, Brooks, Le Guin all had been read and enjoyed), and I’d read a few comedic fantasy books through the library – Piers Anthony, Tom Holt and Dan McGirt – but nothing inspired my imagination like the gentle-fun-poking-at-fantasy-tropes that Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series did.
I devoured each book as I read it and re-read them often in the few years before I went to University. I managed to hook my boyfriend on him as well and together we have spent many hours laughing at the jokes.
I managed to get the first 20 books of my collection signed and dedicated when the Great Man himself was doing a signing at a small indie bookshop in Plymouth. I was the only person there that had the whole set with them (I lived around the corner from the bookshop) and I waited four hours to have that moment with him – the film crew doing a documentary for Ch4 with him insisted I wait until the end of the signing…
He was polite and friendly (despite being very tired and having aching wrists) when we chatted and as he finished each book, the crew broke the spine (I still wince about it) and took a photo of the dedication before I could put it away. They were (and still are) my most prized possession. I would be devastated if anything happened to them.
I met him again a few years later at another signing – this time with my young son in tow. Again he chatted to m e and I was as starstruck as ever.
I’ve bought every book he’s written (I’m still missing a few) and once my collection is complete, I will read and re-read them over and over again.
He was a great man and his journey into the black desert with DEATH is one of the saddest days of my life so far. He increased my love of reading a thousandfold, he inspired me to write my own stories and to share them with the world at large. He has given me joy and laughter with every book and I have found friends who enjoy those books as well.
I will raise a glass of appropriately strong alcoholic beverage to his memory later tonight (after the baby has gone to sleep) and more than likely, I will yet again cry as if a member of my own family has died.
So here is my Toast to him.
To the Words he gave us to read and the words he inspired in a generation of writers.
To the Fun and Imagination that he inspired in his Fans.
To the Creation of a World that will live beyond his lifespan.
To all the laughs, all the tears, the wits, the irony and his immense compassion.*
To a Life very well lived.*
“May his voice ever be heard, and his name ever spoken, for it is written no man is gone if his name still be spoken.”*
Rest In Peace, Sir Terry Pratchett.
* These lines came from fellow Kevins; Andrea Núñez Molina, Crystal Jones and Rômulo Nascimento of the Third Person Group. They said it better than I did, so I borrowed their words… they can have them back now…