I write when I am inspired, when I am moved or need to deal with over whelming emotion or grief. Today I flounder to find the words to express the sorrow I feel. Too many words swirl in my head. I pluck out one; it is unsatisfactory. I try another. No good. I try, in vain, to collect the right words to describe how I feel. I fail.
So I will tell you a story.
It starts in 1999. A new millenium was looming. My Dearheart and I attended World Con in Melbourne – as part of our honeymoon. It was here I first met Terry Pratchett (for he was not yet Sir Terry), while strolling through the hotel halls.
He was questioning a young man about his colour blindness. As a young and enthusiastic optometrist, I joined the conversation – in a technical capacity. I soon found myself discussing Viagra with Terry Pratchett! (not what you think. Cyanopsia is a possible side effects. From that day I suspected those frog pills may end up causing some interesting effects). The conversation wove its way though several topics until he was whisked away for his next talk.
I next met Sir Terry at another convention – Nullus Anxietus, in 2011. I had won the honour of dining with him at the gala dinner. He was witty, friendly and just a little bit flirty. I won’t call him jolly, though he exuded light-heartedness. I could see the annoyance and outrage in his eyes; he did not let it effect his demeanour as the subject inevitably turning to his embuggerance – his name for Alzheimer’s – and his campaign for assisted dying. Always a gentleman, though our philosophies differed, we had a very interesting, informing and poignant conversation. And a laugh.
I won’t call myself a fan. I consider myself an admirer. Of the man himself – of his intellect, of his passion. He was an amazing man, a writer who spoke to many. I feel fortunate to have met him, before I read his books. When I read his words, I read them in his voice. I remember his sincerity and affability.
His prose is entertaining, poignant, witty, funny. They make me ponder the issues raised and have sparked long discussions with friends and family, especially when my Dearheart’s grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. There is a great sorrow and sense of loss, watching the spark in the eyes dimming, as pieces of the soul fade. It is my ultimate fear.
Sir Terry’s courage and dignity, his unwillingness to go quietly into the night, will remain with me always. Bugga the embuggerance!
His daughter penned the fitting last tweets:
“AT LAST, SIR TERRY, WE MUST WALK TOGETHER.
Terry took Death’s arm and followed him through the doors and on to the black desert under the endless night.
Today I write to honour Sir Terry. A gentleman. A free thinker. An amazing man. The world is a little less bright today; a brilliant mind has been extinguished – too Young.
Good night, sir. Thanks for the adventures. I am honoured to have met you.
Vale Sir Terry Pratchett. 1948-2015