Sir Terry Pratchett, author and creative, has died, at the age of sixty-six. He was the same age as my father, and he won’t be getting any older. Whatever pains and struggles he experienced, as the last years closed around him, he’s not experiencing any more, and the idea of the man will live on well after his death.
Terry Pratchett’s work has been important to me since I first discovered it as a spotty little fundamentalist. Imagine reading The Color Of Magic without ever reading a fantasy novel beforehand. Imagine reading Sourcery with your only similar reference being The Last Battle.
I could, for every book or work he created, produce a single line of text that has meant something to me massively in the years since I heard it first, but for now, just three.
Ｅｉｔｈｅｒ Ａｌｌ Ｄａｙｓ Ａｒｅ Ｈｏｌｙ, Ｏｒ Ｎｏｎｅ Ａｒｅ
– Dorfl, Feet of Clay
I once considered myself a Christian, though a terrified Calvinist, unsure of if I could ever truly be sure. When I first read this principle, I embraced it, thinking that the world made more sense if the first was true. Now, less so. It was an antichamber moment: A realisation that I needed to understand my faith, rather than just echo it.
You give a thing a name, you give it life.
– Reaper Man
A principle I have embraced and shared with people all over. It’s truest in people’s heads, but I see it all the time, where by giving a thing a name, a project, a book, a story, it starts to grow and live and change on its own. Movements have life, ideas have life, even little in-house myths have life.
That’s not a story. That’s just an idea.
– Terry Pratchett
When I was… I want to say ten, but chances are I was closer to fourteen, I sent Terry Pratchett an email. I don’t remember much of what I wrote. I remember I shared with him, awed and excited that I could even talk to the man, something of what I thought, at the time, was a story. I wanted to tell stories, after all. I don’t remember much of his – very kind, very gentle – response, but this one simple quote.
It’s easy to have ideas. It’s hard to tell stories.
Goodbye, Sir Terry Pratchett. You left the world slightly kinder than it was when you arrived.