Sir Terry and sword

As most of you have probably heard, Sir Terry Pratchett (an author whose works I dearly loved) passed away yesterday, March 12th, 2015.  He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2007, and managed to fight it, while continuing to write best sellers.  He called it his “embuggeration.”

I greatly admired Sir Terry Pratchett (yes, he was knighted) not just for his writing, but also for his approach to life.  In his books, he used poignant satire to expose our flaws, and, sometimes, our downright silliness as both people and societies.  He made Death into an almost lovable character, and showed us what happens to aging barbarian heroes.  He taught us about fame, magic, life, love, and all sorts of other things while keeping us engrossed with an incredible sense of humor.

When it came to his own mortality, he took a page or two out of his own books.  He didn’t just retire.  He didn’t hide from his disease.  Instead, he kept on writing (and doing it well).  In fact he was the second most read author in the UK, behind only J.K. Rowling.  In addition to publishing novels, he became a voice for those suffering from dementia in all its forms.  He contributed a lot of money to the cause, and was always publically demonstrating his ability to function as a happy, not-dead-yet adult.



Even his last tweets, though tear-inducing, showed that he went all the way up to the end as himself: a brilliant satirist with an undying sense of humor and a close, personal relationship with Death.





For those of you that haven’t read a lot of Sir Pratchett’s work, one of his best recurring characters was Death himself.  Heck, the entire novel Mort was about Death seeking an assistant.  Death had a fittingly dry sense of humor, and felt like he was hated mostly because he was very, very misunderstood.  Death wasn’t a bad guy—just a guy doing his job well.

“Despite rumor, Death isn’t cruel—merely terribly, terribly good at his job.” – Terry Pratchett, Sourcery.

What I’m getting at is this: I don’t think Sir Pratchett would want us moping about.  Rather, I believe he’d want us to carry on the fight against stupidity, dementia, and mundane thinking.  We should take his life’s work as inspiration, and use it to create new and fantastical things—both in fiction and in the more tangible world around us.

I believe that he greeted Death as an old friend, and is now up there finding new ways to laugh at and with the world—ways that weren’t possible from his previous, more limited perspective.

Thank you, Sir Pratchett, for all that you accomplished in your time here.  Though it was far too short for your fans, family, and friends, we’ll never forget you, and because of that, you’ll live forever.

“DON’T THINK OF IT AS DYING, said Death. JUST THINK OF IT AS LEAVING EARLY TO AVOID THE RUSH.” – Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, Good Omens.

In an attempt to cheer you up a bit, and show you why I personally enjoy Sir Terry Pratchett so very much, I’ll leave you with the first Discworld novel, The Colour of Magic. If you haven’t read the series yet, you might want to start (the first two are my favorite).


Quinton Lawman is a Technical Writer for OverDrive