Here at the Guild we strive to be as objective as possible at all times, but today I feel as if I have to be personal. Yesterday we were all saddened by the news of Sir Terry Pratchett’s passing and we were not alone in the world. Everywhere I turn on the social media outlets I follow I have witnessed an outpouring of grief, but also celebration of a man who influenced us greatly and I wanted to take a moment to reflect on my relation to the man some referred to as Pterry.
I came to Pratchett’s work at the end of my teen years, yet I had heard of him a few years prior. Fellow Guild member Peylow Olsson was reading the Light Fantastic and would, with some degree of enthusiasm, regale us with some of its contents. At that time I was somewhat suspicious and was not immediately drawn to Discworld, most likely due to the name Terry, having been burned by the works of Terry Brooks so I waited.
In 1997, after graduating High School, I began working at the school library (ook?) while also substituting in various classes. One day I was called upon to watch over students as they took a four hour test. Having just finished reading a book I felt I needed something to do whilst watching over the youths so I perused the contents of the bookshelves. I found Men At Arms by Pratchett and decided I would give it a shot. The result was that I couldn’t put it down, I was enthralled from the get go and I am fairly certain the the kids who took the test that day could have cheated their hearts out without me noticing.
With Men At Arms done I went looking for my next Pratchett fix. The library was of no help, but I remembered seeing copies of The Colour of Magic in the book depository of the English Language Department. So, having been entrusted with keys I made my way into that treasure trove of literary goodness. I grabbed a paperback Colour of Magic and never looked back, it is still in my collection today.
From that day forward Sir Terry would become an intricate part of my life and I plowed through the first four books quickly, sinking deeper and deeper into the Discworld. I started looking for Clarecraft Design figurines and read up on everything related to Pratchett and his creation. I realized that I had to pace myself and decided to make a Discworld book every other book I read, which worked out great once I started studying Literature at the University.
Today I am a teacher at a high school and I have tried to influence my students to read Pratchett all through my career, from analyzing his short stories to reading Small Gods in class, at the moment I have a group reading Wyrd Sisters as part of a Shakespeare Project.
Sir Terry has followed me for close to twenty years now and though I never met him in person I feel as if I have come to know him somewhat. Not only through his books, but through his interviews and the documentaries Living with Alzheimer and Choosing to Die and I have shared his strife. It has been so easy to immerse oneself in his world and at times I feel as if Ankh-Morpork is my home. I have read all the calendars and almanacs, the storybooks, the cookbooks and mythology surrounding it. I have followed Sam Vimes from a drunken wreck to a family man reading Where’s my Cow to his son, listened to Dave Greensalde’s From the Discworld and been excited by the apperance of Tiffany Aching and can’t wait to read about her adventures to my daughters.
It takes a special person to touch as many as Terry Pratchett has and to most of us the loss of him feels so very personal and we will all deal with it by somehow re-immersing ourselves in his creation, weather it will be by reading, listening or watching something.
The world has lost a brilliant mind, but his legacy will live on in us all.
C. Marry Hultman