Since Sir Terry Pratchett’s death on 12th March 2015 my Discworld books have been gathering dust. Kind of melodramatic, I know, but the fan-girl in me needed the space to mourn in a way that wouldn’t make the other people around me feel uncomfortable.
Yes, I’m very considerate like that.
I broke the drought last month when one of my friends at work suggested Guards! Guards! for her book group and wanted help putting together questions for discussion.
Have I mentioned I’m considerate? I dusted off my copy with it’s dogged ears and old school Josh Kirby cover and…Whoosh! I was back where the dragon’s went.
An equally potent experience to the one the thirteen-year-old me had in the school library when she was drawn to a fantasy book with a blurb that made her laugh.
Was fantasy allowed to do that?
And, yes, that book was Guards! Guards!
I started reading. I skived off double science.
Coincidence? Million to one chance? I never was good at maths. Maybe if I’d been facing backwards and standing on one leg atop a whisky distillery?
Reading my first Discworld book was one of those moments that doesn’t so much open your eyes as blow the top of your skull off. Yes, I thought, this is it. This is one of those massive smack you in the side of the head, rip out the inertia, holy cow, screaming naked in the wild moments that make you see the world differently. That make you different.
It wasn’t until 12th March 2015 when I read Neil Gaiman’s article in The Guardian on Terry Pratchett being angry that I really understood why I loved those books so much. Anger is only a negative emotion if you don’t have the focus and strength of will to do something positive with it. The more I read of Pratchett – especially the later books- the more I realise that he is angry about alot of things, and really they are things that we should all be angry about. In fact it made me think that we should all be more angry about some of them.
However, Pratchett has the intelligence to make us laugh at social injustice, racism, sexism (most of the isms in fact) and abuse of power. He turns them inside out and shows us how truly ridiculous they/we are. More importantly, how we can subvert them from within.
Step up the now the most reluctant His Grace, His Excellency, the Duke of Ankh, Commander Sir Samuel Vimes. Take a bow.
In the Discworld we see not only what people are, but what they can become. The choice of course, is ours.
A book can change your life. Plus, the Discworld is the reason I wanted to be a writer, but I guess you knew that already?
Who is your inspiration? Who is your hero? Who wants you want to grab life by the throat and go for it?