Monday, March 16, 2015

He Beat the Rush: A Too-Small Tribute to Terry Pratchett

"DON'T THINK OF IT AS DYING, said Death. JUST THINK OF IT AS LEAVING EARLY TO AVOID THE RUSH." - Terry Pratchett, Good Omens


I was 18 when I fell in love with Terry Pratchett. A friend handed me a copy of The Colour of Magic during our first semester at college, and I’m not exaggerating when I say my life was never the same.

Never before had I read books that made me so excited to join the creative community and just create.

Of all the authors in the world, Terry Pratchett is the only one whose books I would buy without first borrowing them from the library*. I never wonder if any of his books will be rubbish or gold.

Pratchett’s books are packed with inspiration, even if he didn’t always mean to put it there. They are more quotable than any other novels I've read. Their pages are filled to the brim with quirky logic, hilarious situations, and some of the most phenomenal characters you'll ever read. Do a Google search for Terry Pratchett quotes and you will find the snarkiest and most poignant gems around. Even out of context they have a surprising ability to make you snort with laughter or nod your head in furious agreement.

He gives great advice about punctuation:
“And all those exclamation marks, you notice? Five? A sure sign of someone who wears his underpants on his head.”

And he described a brilliant approach to parenting:
“You can't give her that!' she screamed. 'It's not safe!'
IT'S A SWORD, said the Hogfather. THEY'RE NOT MEANT TO BE SAFE.
'She's a child!' shouted Crumley.
IT'S EDUCATIONAL.
'What if she cuts herself?'
THAT WILL BE AN IMPORTANT LESSON.”

Plus there’s the way he explained why we love books and movies:
“People wanted the world to be a story, because stories had to sound right and they had to make sense. People wanted the world to make sense.

Terry Pratchett’s books made this crazy creative writer's life of mine make sense. After all, if he could do it, so can I...right? Maybe satire isn’t inspirational for most people, but it was for me -- reading the Discworld novels taught me that if you want to change someone's mind, sometimes the best course of action is to make them laugh. I didn’t always agree with the things he said or wrote, but that doesn’t matter. I already miss the books the world will never see because of this loss. He was a talented, brilliant man, and I wish he had been around longer.





If you've never read anything by Terry Pratchett, Michelle's favorites are Lords and Ladies, Soul Music, Making Money, Going Postal, Unseen Academicals, Monstrous Regiment and...um...maybe she'd better stop writing them down now, otherwise it'll just become a list of books, not favorites. Whoops.




*All right, so "only" is technically false. I also buy Jasper Fforde books without even reading the blurb on the back, but Fforde is quite alive and well, thank goodness.

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