This was a day I have known was coming for a long time. That doesn’t make it any easier to accept or even process.
Terry Pratchett, author extraordinaire died today at the age of 66.
I won’t say I was his biggest fan, only because there are so many people who adored his work. I was one of those and still hold out hope that I will one day be even the tiniest smidgeon of an author that he was.
What I can say is his work influences my own every single day. He influences my life in ways I can’t even begin to comprehend. And now, I won’t be able to tell him how important he has been to me. At least, I cannot tell him in this life.
I sort of stumbled across his work when I was sixteen. I was in the airport bookstore looking for something to read. I found the book, The Colour of Magic and picked it up. It was by no means a first edition – I had heard of this phenomenon, The Discworld, for a few years by then – but it immediately caught my eye and I bought it.
I would love to say I never looked back, but something about Rincewind didn’t resonate with me then. I managed about two chapters before I put it away and never visited the Discworld again as a youth.
In my 20’s I rediscovered Terry Pratchett, this time with Guards Guards. Something about his writing and sense of humour really grabbed me. This time I truly never did look back, even finding my copy of The Colour of Magic and reading it with enjoyment this time. I have since consumed practically everything he has written.
His books rank as the few that I have read over and over again. When I go to a bookstore, I’m always trying to find something new by Terry Pratchett. Now I have one less reason to visit the bookstores.
He has pulled me out of some dark times and pushed me towards some incredibly good ones. I know some of my writing style is because of him, sometimes purposely and sometimes just because that’s how much he has influenced me over the years.
There is a hole in my life right now. One that will never completely go away. I will try to fill it the best way I know how, by writing, but what I produce will never have the same brilliance as Sir Terry’s work.
He will continue to by my beacon though. The standard which I will try to grow to. I can only hope that I one day can make a positive impact on someone else like he has made on me.