Friday, March 13, 2015

Goodbye, Sir Terry Pratchett

Just because you see the sledgehammer coming, it doesn't make it hurt any less when it finally hits you.

Whether you look up and suddenly there's a hammer two inches from making contact with your cranium or you see the windup from the other side of the room before they shot-put it into your face, it still hurts, and there's nothing you can do to stop it.

Terry Pratchett died yesterday.

Of course, he'd been sick for a very long time. Eight years, according to the various obituaries. It was going to happen. It was unavoidable. A sledgehammer from across the room.

Around a decade ago, my then-boyfriend now Mr. and I took a look around a bookstore. In the fantasy section, he stopped and pulled out a book: Guards, Guards!

"Have you ever read Terry Pratchett?"

"No. I've never heard of him."

"I'm buying this for you and you are going to read it."

He did. And I gave it a try. It didn't work for me. I just wasn't really enjoying reading anymore. Oh well. But when we moved in together, he brought all his books. Many, many Terry Pratchett books. They seemed interesting. His father gave him a copy of Making Money, the newest book, as soon as it came out. So I sat down with it. And finally, on the second try, I fell into Discworld in a way I have never been able to escape, nor have I wanted to. I wanted it all. I needed it all. I wondered how I didn't love Guards, Guards! the first time I read it. I read it all. Then I started to read everything else again. And a few years later, I wrote again. Thanks to Terry and the Discworld. He didn't just bring me to the Disc; he brought me back to my muse, to myself. I wasn't dying, but all the same, he saved me.

I cried when I heard the news. In the middle of my office, when the words "RIP Terry Pratchett" settled into my mind, I bawled and prayed that no one would come by or come in. How could I begin to explain what was wrong? "My favorite author died"? No. That's not right. "My idol died." Stronger, but it doesn't quite work. Not exactly. No, the only thing to say is, "Terry Pratchett died." Because he was so much more than an author, an idol. Those who didn't know him wouldn't understand that it's not just saying goodbye to one man.

It's goodbye to Sam Vimes and Sybil, to Carrot and Angua and Detritus and Cheery and Fred and Nobby and Reg and all the other members of the Watch who've protected and changed their city and their world.

It's goodbye to Granny and Nanny and Greebo and Magrat and Tiffany and all the wee free men. 

Goodbye to Rincewind and Ponder and the Librarian and Ridcully and the Bursar and all the other wizards, to Two-Flower, Cohen, and the tireless Luggage.

Goodbye to Moist and Vetinari and Adora, to Susan and the monks of Time, to Gaspode and Foul Ol' Ron and his beggars and CMOT Dibbler.

Goodbye to Death and the Death of Rats and the Great A'Tuin.

Goodbye to the Disc.

Because, though we'll always be able to visit it, its story is done. Everything we have now is everything we will ever have. Other people can try to write it, but it won't be Terry's Discworld. It's time is over, too. We haven't just lost a great man with a kind smile, a black fedora, and a creative mind like no other. We've lost the future stories of a hundred great men and women, dwarfs and trolls and Nobby Nobbses. And just saying "My favorite author died" can't begin to explain that.

Goodbye, Sir Terry Pratchett, and thank you. For everything.

1 comment:

  1. I'm sorry for your loss.... and I love this post. You have conveyed what a loss such as Terry Pratchett feels like. I understand your feeling of absence when a creator who means something in your life is gone, never to create again.