Death was standing behind a lectern, poring over a map. He looked at Mort as if he wasn’t entirely there. YOU HAVEN’T HEARD OF THE BAY OF MANTE, HAVE YOU? he said.
“No, sir,” said Mort.
FAMOUS SHIPWRECK THERE.
THERE WILL BE, said Death, IF I CAN FIND THE DAMN PLACE.
I remember it like it was yesterday. I walked into that small hilltown bookstore – all haphazard stacks of books, bare bulbs hanging from the ceiling and a smell of some serious bookiness hanging in the air – and asking for some solid research books for fantasy fiction.
What do kids nowadays read?
And being pointed towards my first Terry Pratchett. And the rest, as all the clichés say, was history.
Of course, much before I’d ever closed the covers of that first Terry Pratchett 2 things were startlingly clear to me.
1. If this was what kids nowadays were reading we were, all unknowingly, rearing a generation of of some seriously, irreverently independent thinkers.
2. Somebody was having fun at my expense by giving me something like this in the name of research.
I mean, who in their right minds could lay claim to a casual talent of that calibre! For try as I might, not all of the magic on Discworld could turn me into anything even remotely Pratchett-ish.
Of course, it’s been a long, long journey since then. And I have finally learned from Granny Weatherwax that sometimes being a witch is as much about the hat and the robe as it is about some serious witchy talent. And some bloody good timing.
It’s going to be close to a month now since Terry Pratchett passed and I can not believe that I am only now getting to know of it. But no matter how many days or even years pass by I’m sure the passing of such a bright light will always find mourners. And so I had to steal a moment and some cyberpsace to scratch in my mark of respect …
Dear Mr Pratchett,
I know you’ll never read this but I’m sure you already know how much you were loved and revered by millions the world over. And I do believe some things are better left unsaid.
So now that the last drops of ink have dried on the paper, the last story’s been unfurled and perhaps, the last map of Discworld carefully put away? We hope you know that decades and perhaps, even centuries from now we’ll still be wandering down the lanes of Ankh Morpork accompanied by sounds of raucous merry making from the Broken Drum. We’ll try and stay clear of the Night Watch and not pause to investigate any innocuous looking trunks or puffs of smoke we might find by the wayside. We’ll also turn a blind eye to any assassins we might find swinging from rooftops (after all, we know they’re highly principled folks) or any signs of suspicious seismic activity originating at the Unseen University. Especially, signs of suspicious seismic activity originating at the Unseen University. And if we do find ourselves drifting closer to that bubbling cauldron of magic we’ll make sure we have a bunch of bananas handy.
And no matter what, we will never ever wander by ourselves towards the dock of the Ankh. And if we are ill-fated enough to do so we’ll hope like hell somebody will come along soon to rescue us. Susan Sto Helit or Ronnie, the fifth horseman, perhaps? But of course, everybody knows you can’t drown in the Ankh! No, sir! And if we find our undrowned selves slowly sliding off the edge of the world … well …. Death ain’t such a bad guy now, is he? I rather like him myself. And we’re sure he’s glad to have you around now to smoke a pipe or two with after dinner!
P.S. – speaking of dinner. .. whatever you do, don’t eat the eggs Albert makes!
Yours & c.,
More people than you know.
Thank you for making the world a better place.