On the Passage of Terry Pratchett

From Ellen Myrick

I remember vividly my first introduction to Terry Pratchett. I was at Ingram Library Services and had the idea to work with publishers to get authors to finish the sentence “A Library Is . . . ” so that we could put their responses on tee shirts and posters for conferences. Virginia Stanley of HarperCollins suggested Terry Pratchett. I found that he had sold millions of books in the UK and was growing in popularity in the US. I scored an ARC for his YA novel The Wee Free Men and fell in love.

And I was not the only one. I brought Terry Pratchett into my home, already filled with thousands of books, and he soon became The Official Favorite Author of the Myrick family. For years, I would visit fifth grade classes on Friday and (I hope) treat them to another chapter of Tiffany Aching’s travails and liberal doses of Pratchett’s wisdom and heart and humor. Not necessarily in that order.

Because that is what I love most about the works of Terry Pratchett. He delights in foibles but always treats his creations with kindness. Even his most ruthless villains are given a moment of reflection or redemption, often in a last conversation with Death.

So, as the endless ripples created by the floating Discworld continue stretching out into eternity, I am grateful that Terry Pratchett will always be a part of not just my reading life, but my very being. I venture into L-space with the Librarian, I blunder into bravery with Sam Vines, I open my eyes–and open them again–with Tiffany Aching, and I walk the silver sands with Death, because of one man’s words.

And I am grateful.

“A library is where I learned stuff–at school I just threw spitwads.” –Terry Pratchett