I’m four episodes into the awesome adaptation of Good Omens starring David Tennant as the demon Crowley and Michael Sheen as the angel Aziraphale. There are only six episodes. Don’t tell me how it ends. Just kidding, I read the book, I know exactly how it ends. Why? Because it was adapted by Niel Gaiman who wrote the book with Terry Pratchett. The sight of Pratchett’s black hat and scarf set on a chair with a large bucket of popcorn at the world premiere filled me with happiness to think his contribution to the work would not be forgotten. It also made my eyes swim.
I came to the works of Mr. Pratchett when I was in graduate school working on my Masters of Science. Lucky for me I happened to know someone who had every book of the Discworld Series tucked away on his bookshelves. My dad generously loaned me every copy. I read them in order and have my favorites, but in truth, the Tiffany Aching Series of books holds a special place in my heart. For some reason, I can’t get enough of The Wee Free Men and make every book club I’ve ever joined read it. I also find its sequel, A Hat Full of Sky, to be that rare work that may surpass the original. I’m still waiting for their adaptation.
The third book in the series, The Wintersmith, holds a special place in my memory because that was the book that brought Pratchett to Milwaukee in 2006 for a signing. The weather was dodgy, my husband got home late from work, neither of us was at our best, but I still wanted to go. We arrived late, but they still had copies of the books. I bought two. One for my dad and one for my aunt, another fan of the Disc. We caught the tail end of Mr. Pratchett’s talk and then got in the back of the line because I was not leaving without getting those books signed.
How did we pass the time? I don’t recall, but when I made it up to the table, I’d mustered the courage to tell Mr. Pratchett how his books had helped me finish my master’s thesis. The woman at the table asked what I was studying, perhaps thinking I would respond with something appropriate like, English. I told her Geology. She smiled. I said thank you and left. I, of course, wish I had been more effusive in my thanks, but not so much that I scared anyone. Probably best my thanks were as short and sweet as possible. Here I am, getting my book signed:
Pratchett would travel to Madison, WI for The North American Discworld Convention at the beginning of July in 2011. I gave birth to my first child at the end of June and couldn’t make it. I was a little busy trying to figure out the whole motherhood and parenting thing.
March 12, 2015 was a rough day for me. That was the day Pratchett passed away after a long, open battle with Alzheimer’s disease. I wish I could blame the ugly cry that followed on the fact that I was pregnant with my second child at the time, but I can’t, not entirely.
After I calmed myself down I called the person who had introduced me to so much of Pratchett’s work. Had he heard the news? Yes. I didn’t have to break it to him. We commiserated, talking about our favorite books, wondering if there would be any more. There would. And we said goodbye.
I reread Pratchett’s work from time to time when I don’t have anything else to read, which doesn’t happen as often as it used to (see motherhood and book club above). But the books, including Good Omens, are always there for me to fall back into. I take up with them like old friends who are going about having their own lives, but it’s as if we haven’t skipped a beat. We pick up right where we left off.
That’s the power of a good book and a great author. #GNUTerryPratchett #speakhisname