Friday, 13 March 2015

Death Isn't Cruel - Merely Terribly, Terribly Good at His Job

I was an angst-ridden fourteen year old, standing at the top of my uncle Thomas's staircase, peering at his forever heaving bookshelves and wondering what to read next. I had always enjoyed books, but puberty had temporarily robbed me of my appreciation for my former favourite, and I was looking for someone to replace Roald Dahl in my heart. This bookshelf seemed like a good place to start.

Suddenly, a small paperback caught my eye. The busy artwork on the spine and the confusing way that the tome was titled grabbed me, so I took the book to 'borrow'. The white cover was decorated with darkly colourful illustrations, front and back, that sprawled confusingly with characters and action. The title was given as 'Faust' in gothic lettering, but this was crossed through in red, with 'Eric' printed in a font designed to look like scrawled handwriting. I was intrigued.

Eric may not seem like an obvious starting place when it comes to the Discworld but somehow, up until this point, its entire existence had passed me by. It was only after devouring my first book that I started to notice the signature busy cover art featuring on the bookshelves of almost everyone I knew.

It seemed as though I had stumbled onto some sort of a cult...

Over the following years, I read as many Discworld books as I could get my hands on. As my teenage years progressed, I found myself struggling with issues that I had never even imagined having to deal with and Terry's words gave me an entire world to escape into. His quick satire and dry wit put a smile on the face of a young girl who often worried that she might never smile again.

Crucially though, Terry taught me a love for words and for storytelling that would stay with me long after I'd put the books down. In short, he is the person responsible for making me want to write. I had always enjoyed stringing words together, and had always had a knack for doing it well, but suddenly I understood the power available to me. He gave me the words that I didn't realise I had; a voice that I was able to use to full effectiveness thanks to what he had shown me.

When I heard the news yesterday that Terry had died, a small piece of me shattered. I felt that the magic had been sucked out of the world and felt unbearably sad for all the new words that wouldn't be written. Luckily, I didn't feel that way for long. A few hours later, I felt altogether different. I felt inspired; I wanted to write. I was spurred on by the fact that Terry's life was unfairly short but he filled it with as many words as he could untangle from his head, and I owe it to him to do the same. I've been given a gift and I'll be damned if I'm going to do Terry the injustice of wasting it.

So I'll write. Like Terry, I will continue to string these sentences together until Death comes for me. I only hope I can do him proud.

Sleep well, Sir Terry

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