I can at least put this worry to rest: No, Terry did not take his own life. Rob Wilkins assured us of this at the Australian Discworld Convention, and shared some stories and details of Terry's final days, which he asked us not to repeat.
I'm new, I just registered just to have the opportunity to write something I should have written some times ago...
It is a mail I wanted to write to Terry Pratchett, some years ago. And I never did. You know, busy life, "there's always time". And the believe that Terry was immortal.
my name's Elena, I'm an Italian Astronomer, I'm 34 and I have a little, wonderful daughter.
As almost all italian high school students, I had to painfully study english (not necessarily learn it, though). Then, as a professional in astronomy, whose international language, as in many fields, is English, I had to even learn it and use it daily.
Anyway, at the beginning it was just for scientific usage, and I needed little more than knowing how to put "I-did-this-and-that-because-of" simple statements. Those days I remember myself saying that I knew no dullier language than English, and that that language has been choosen as science language specifically for its dullness.
Then, I found your books. Those few that had been translated in Italian. Very few. But then, one day, while waiting for my connecting flight at an airport, I finally found and bought one of your books in English. It was Unseen Academicals.
Woah! At the beginning it was SO difficult to read. But I finished it. And then it was Night Watch. And Hogsfather. And Snuff. And
all Tiffany's books. And I have now the whole set.
And I continued -and continue- to read them again and again, till I can read each one by hearth, and till I remember how to say walrus and hedgehog and dull -even if in Astronomy we don't use those words much.
I don't know how to properly tell you how much I have loved and still love all your books. Maybe you can get a clue from the fact that your books are the reason why I now love English so much.
I started to appreciate the inventiveness, the musicality, the sound of English from your books. It's like reading a picture that has music inside. And that can be SO snappy and fast!
And lately, my colleagues at the University of Nottingham (yes, I work in the UK now!) are appreciating the way my English
sounds, and the fact that I know some of british expressions and slang. Often, we talk a lot about you and your books
So, thank you. You gave me not only countless hours of delightful enterteinment. Non only you made me thinking a lot (my books are
full of fold marks). But you gave me another language, that is like giving me another whole word. Knowing a language is knowing a new word.
And I'm looking forward to when my daughter is a bit older, to share with her my deep pleasure in disclosing all your stories.
What I DIDN'T wrote in that mail, though, is that he saved, if not my life, my mental sanity.
I had a very severe depression. And I took refuge in his books when the pain was too much. He took me gently by the hand to allow me to cross the worst passage. I could find solace and peace, even if just for the time of my reading, Terry's book were lending me some strenght. Allowing me to restore a bit my mind. Helping me in my battle to survive, and come back to life.
Terry gave me a lot. I never thanked him properly. I never imagined that I would have suffered the death of someone I didn't know personally in such a deep way.
Welcome to the forum Elena, I'm so pleased that Terry introduced you to English in such a way and that you have gone on to appreciate all his works and that his writing gave you strength to fight your depression. When i'm down I turn to Terry because he can always lift your spirit.
Welcome elana! I also suffer from severe depression and Terry's books have gotten me through many a bad time. He's like a reliable old friend who you love to turn to because you know they will always cheer you up.
I cannot complaint about the few books that were translated in italian since it gave me the pleasure to read them in English -I also bought the original version of all the title I had in Italian!-
Anyway I am amazed that there are so few books of him available in italian, and I wonder why.
You should also see how bad is the translation of some of the first production... one of my little trick to pass through the bad times was to try to translate what I was reading.. not easy at all, what with the way he makes speack some of the carachters.
I cannot wait to read Maurice to my daughter, but I should translate it first!
Thanks again for the welcome. The fact that I never thanked him made me feel horrible.
Thanks for sharing your story, Elena. Knowing that you are not the only one who has so many things to thank is such a beautiful feeling. As for me, since I’m in this forum I’m amazed to see how Discworld has transformed people’s life all over the world and for so many different reasons, but always with the same wonderful result.
I totally understand you. In my case, I did send Sir Terry’s agent, Colin Smythe, an email similar to yours practically one year ago. If it hadn’t been for my family and some members of this forum that encouraged me, I don’t think I would have ever done it. Mr Smythe kindly answered me that same day and told me he would forward it to Sir Terry’s PA for him to read to Pratchett. If Sir Terry did listen my words I’ll never know, but I’m sure he was totally aware of how many lives he changed. In fact, at this level I don’t think words were able enough to ever transmit what we all feel and I have no doubt that he received and will always receive the energy driven by millions of echoing hearts beating with gratitude towards him. What I’m trying to say is that whatever you wanted to tell him, I believe he already knows.
Thoughts going to Terry's nearest and dearest. Very difficult for them at this time of year when we are being urged to have fun and be jolly - and other things ending in 'olly. Always going to be a poignant time.
Thank you, Bouncy.
I still miss him, too, Tony. I wear my Discworld badges from pjsm prints on my coat and the strap of my bag, and as it's December I've now added the Death Hogwatch badge as well.
The 3 badges on my bag are: GNU; Terry & I Still Ainten't Dead, purely because part of me still doesn't want to accept that he's gone.
No worries. We are generally very laid back here - but I know there are a lot of people who are desperately avoiding spoilers. I was the same before I read the book. The Shepherd's Crown is going to be an emotional read for people, regardless of the storyline.