I finally feel at least somewhat ready to post a few words about the man who was, until recently, my favorite living writer. (The full quote, by the way, from Wyrd Sisters, is “Only in our dreams are we free. The rest of the time we need wages.”)
Most of the time while reading Terry Prachett’s novels, I felt that I was sharing some amazing dreams with him. His clever use of words, fully fleshed and unique characters, and wonderful sense of place would pull me into the stories — occasionally shedding a tear, sometimes nodding my head in agreement, and often chuckling or outright laughing.
Sir Terry’s writing was enough to make me enjoy his books, but I think maybe our similarities in world views (with his perhaps just a tad more optimistic than mine) clinched the deal. I’ve read all 40 or so Discworld novels at least once, all except the last few at least twice, and many of them several times — and of course I lost count somewhere along the way for Good Omens (co-authored with some hack you may have heard of named Neil Gaiman).
Not only were his books immensely enjoyable, but for me they were even therapeutic. While dealing with a number of deaths in my family over the past few years, I often turned to his books not just as an escape, but as a way to reaffirm my belief in the good things about life and the human condition, yet never in a way that just whitewashed over the bad parts.
“And what would humans be without love?”
RARE, said Death.
Somehow I imagine Sir Terry is still having a friendly debate with Death about the meaning of life, smoking a pipe and enjoying a sherry, ensconced in a comfy chair in Death’s manse in the place beyond time.