The Germans probably have a word for it.
But in English the closest I can get is âthe feeling you have when someone speaks your heart far better than you canâ. And its sad addition âand the feeling you have when they dieâ.
Terry Pratchettâs death (or should I say Death?) was long in coming â Alzheimerâs is a cruel and truly terrible thing. Many of you know Sir Pratchettâs writing, and some of you the man himself. And while I could single out Small Gods as my favorite of his works, I was never sorry I read even one book of his.
That I associate him with Stephen Colbert may seem bizarre, but I do. I well remember watching Colbertâs Press Club evisceration of George W. Bush, and that exact moment when he went all in â the look in his eyes that told me he hated the mendacious suckfish of the U.S. media as much as the policies of the killers they were failing to report accurately about. And not only that he got it, and was taking a rare moment to speak truth to power, but that he was simply better at all of it than I was. There are many reasons of course, but I cannot shake the idea that itâs because the real Colbert so adeptly used the character of âStephen Colbert, right wing press hackâ as a mask. The way Pratchett used all the hackneyed tropes of fantasy and fiction to tell true stories about all the things that matter.
Iâd heard tell of Discworld for several years, but weâd never really âmetâ before I read Good Omens, his collaboration with the esteemed Neil Gaiman. But once begun, Pratchettâs oeuvre proved hard to put down, and after a couple decades of reading, I was asked to be the artist guest of honor at The North American Discworld Convention. By then I was ready.
But the sad truth of Pratchettâs Alzheimers diagnosis had just been revealed, and Pratchett stayed home. Rather than have a few drinks with the legions of adoring friends, fans, and families, Pratchett sent a high-tech âhelloâ from across the briny and the likes of Bernard Pearson to keep things lively. (Trying to match wits with Bernard was a highlight of not just that convention, but the entire year).
Pratchettâs Calendar spread shows the not-quite-penultimate one we call âNovemberâ but the denizens of Discworld, in their 13 month cycle, call âEmberâ.
The 8 day week proved problematic, but the double helix makes so many things possible. Nothing was off limits to Pratchett â everything could be questioned, altered and enjoyed.
Death is everywhere in Pratchettâs books (Gaimanâs too, come to that), but some things transcend it â art and love among them.
He left his all on the page. A reformed Omâs blessings to him for that.
Pratchett never got to see these pieces â all from âGood Omensâ (and including my favorite joke in the entire book: âAdmittedly he was listening to a âBest of Queenâ tape, but no conclusions should be drawn from this because all tapes left in a car for more than about a fortnight metamorphose into âBest of Queenâ albumsâ). I hope youâll enjoy them.
Added bonus! The pin-up that goes with the calendar page above.