It’s not often I do this. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever written down my thoughts and feelings on the death of an author. Then again, I don’t think I’ve ever been this affected by the death of one. Today, the world lost a great author in Terry Pratchett and I am truly saddened that I shall never again be able to read or listen to the opinions of a man whose books got me through my awkward teen years.
As a child, I was always a book-worm. I didn’t like people very much but books I loved. I got lost for hours in the worlds created by my favourite authors and, as you probably guessed, it didn’t really make me too popular. I didn’t know how to deal with the “mean-girls” or the social cliques but books I understood. I never felt as comfortable as I did with a book in my hands and one of my favourites authors was Terry Pratchett and his Discworld novels. These books were my gateway into adult reads, my first experience of adult themes and issues and they were all discussed within a fantastical world filled with humour and vibrant characters.
As a young teen, the books were escapism at its best. They made me laugh and they made me think but I was too young to truly understand the social issues they were trying to address. It was only when I matured that I understood that these were satirical attempts to address real issues that affect people on a daily basis. Over the course of the Discworld series, I saw attempts to discuss racism, sexism, homophobia and political corruption. He did it with the aid of his wonderful characters and, I think, he did it quite well.
It saddens me that there will be no more Discworld books but, truly, I know that there are more than enough. I have my favourite books (HogFather and Soul Music), I have my favourite characters (Vimes and Death are to name but two) and I still have my very first, battered Terry Pratchett paperback, which is so well read that the middle pages are no longer attatched and the cover has fallen off. What I am actually sad about is the how of it all. Terry Pratchett was a sharp, intelligent man who fell foul to a disease that degenerated his mind. The cruelness of that is what upsets me the most and makes this hard to stomach. A man who used his mind to try to make us into better people ultimately ended up losing his life to a disease that was attacking that very organ.
I’m going to finish with one of my favourite quotes. Quotes like this are the ones that made me think, the ones that played a minute part in shaping the person that I am today.
If you don’t turn your life into a story, you just become a part of someone else’s story. – from The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents