Friday, March 13, 2015

RIP Sir Terry Pratchett

Jesus.  The third in memoriam type-thing in just over a month.

Yesterday morning, Emilie told me that Sir Terry Pratchett had passed away.  From the article she was reading, she said that he had passed away with his cat on his bed and with his family present.  Then she read the first part of a triptych of tweets that came out posthumously.

I would be lying if I said that I wasn't emotionally moved.  "Knowing" the character of DEATH from his Discworld series, a flood of memories of the various circumstances that involved DEATH throughout the books that I have read came back to me and it was like I could see/hear the passage being read in DEATH'S voice and that the sentence was something that was in one of his books.  (Unlike that previous sentence which was poorly written and rewritten and yet somehow remains in existence).  There were two additional tweets that read, "Terry took Death's arm and followed him through the doors and on to the black desert under the endless night" and "The End."

I haven't read all of the books in the series although I recently finished The Last Continent.  I was introduced to Terry Pratchett and Discworld through a friend back in 2003 with Mort and I immediately fell in love with the world, the writing style with it being similar to Douglas Adams' The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and yet how serious the overall stories could be.  To date (with only having read 22 of the 41, soon to be 42 books in the series and I know that these are books that I will (and have) read over and over again.  Nanny Ogg, DEATH, and Rincewind are a few of my favorite characters and I know that everyone will have their own list and there is no point claiming one list over another, but it's not always just the characters themselves, but how they react and how real they feel despite the fantasy whole of the world.

I've never read any of his Free Wee Men and with the exception of his collaboration with Neil Gaiman on Good Omens, I have not read anything else that he as written, Discworld or otherwise.  I also do not put his young adult novels out of reach, my current reading is not above anything that Sir Pratchett has written.

What impressed me the most about Sir Pratchett's writing was that he was able to be consistently funny.  I found his humor similar to Douglas Adams and Monty Python (maybe because they are all British), but every book of his that I have read has been humorous and meaningful without ever reaching the level of preachiness that a lot of moralistic stories fall to.  Sure, not all of the stories of his that I have read have garnered the "Oh wow that was an amazing story!" reaction but I have enjoyed them nonetheless.  Some of the humor, especially dealing with the Wizards is lost on me, but not all of it as I have plenty of experience in dealing with seniors who are convinced that they are right, you are wrong and that black man in the white house needs to go.

I recall reading back in either 2010 or 2011 (four years after his initial announcement) that Sir Pratchett had been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease or what I loved that he referred to it as an "embuggerance."  I saw him/his representative make a number of posts via the Facebook over the last couple of years, but already working in an assisted living facility and dealt with residents with Alzheimer's disease and dementia, I shamefully did not follow through with reading the articles as I selfishly needed to be outside that world while not at work.

This is the extent of my knowledge and experience with the late Sir Terry Pratchett.

Sir Terry Pratchett will be missed, but at least we all still have the Discworld to remember him by.  I feel that this is all that I am capable of saying in a woefully inadequate manor.

Tell My Wife I Am Trawling Atlantis

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