Journal prompt: a letter to the author of your favourite book

Dear Sir Terry,

I have so much to thank you for, which I’m sure would have embarrassed you if I’d ever told you so when you were alive. You seemed very humble and self-deprecating in your interviews, but it’s a real regret of mine that I never wrote that fan letter to tell you so.

I started reading your books because of my father, who had found you first and thought I’d appreciate your humour. I started with Witches Abroad, which introduced me to my personal heroine, Granny Weatherwax. I devoured every volume that my local library had of yours, and then started to buy them for myself when I kept wanting to re-read them. You can see from my bookshelves when I started earning a better Saturday job wage, as I started buying hardbacks instead of paperbacks!  The witch novels have always been my favourites, followed by the novels centred around the Ankh Morpork City Watch and the wizards of the Unseen University.

I think the reason why I love your books is because you wrote about people that I knew. Oh, they might be witches or wizards or Ephebian philosophers in their barrels, but I knew them. I recognised them as my family, my teachers, my friends and myself. You made your characters so human and realistic, even the ones that are orangutans and Wonder Dogs. You made me look critically at how I thought – you taught me about Second Thoughts and the secret of boffo, ideas that still guide my judgments and actions today. You made me laugh with your outrageous puns and sly references to the real world.

You exposed hypocrisy in governments and institutions but you were never cruel to the undeserving. You respected the Sam Vimeses of the world, who battle against their demons every day, and the Granny Weatherwaxes, who do the job that is in front of them, no matter what the personal cost. You were on the side of the little guy, when few often are.

When I needed a good laugh, I could rely on you. When I needed a place to retreat to from the harshness of the world, I could rely on you. You were more than my favourite author. You were a teacher, a guide and a friend. You didn’t ask to be, and I’m not sure you wanted to be, but you were, all the same. I don’t think I could have got through my teen years without my copy of Lords and Ladies. At a time when I was suffering from the stress of parental expectation and my own highly critical inner voice, Granny was going through the same thing. The price of being the best is having to be the best, every day, with all the expectations that went with it.  I got that. It spoke to me. It still does. Granny survived that pressure, so I did. You were the first person to be able to give words to the feelings that I had banging around my brain and I am so intensely grateful for that gift.

I met you once, although I didn’t get the chance to tell you all this. I’m not sure that I could have put it into words then. You were kind, and smiled and chatted as you signed my copy of Hogfather, the latest release. I heard you give advice to some amateur actresses who were putting on a Discworld play, and I’ve practically memorised what you said to them. I can’t remember what we talked about. Shock at actually meeting my hero, I suppose.

You’re gone now, and the fact that I’m crying as I’m typing this only goes to show that you mean so much more to me than I can explain. You went far too soon and I’m bloody angry about the books that we’ll never get to read and the jokes we’ll never laugh at. My loss is nothing compared to that of your family, of course, but you are mourned and missed by millions. You should know that. You should know how much you were loved. Everyone should know how much they are loved.

Thank you for everything you’ve given me, and keep giving me. Your books are a constant source of joy for me.You’ll always have a special place in my heart, and on my bedside table.

 

All my love and grateful thanks,

 

Louise

xxx

 

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