Saturday, 14 March 2015

Terry Pratchett taught a great many

children to read. Tiffany Aching anyone? Who can't love her?
I saw Pratchett interviewed on a television news service last year. It was one of those "human interest" segments they put in to lighten a day of dire news...although the news itself was dire. Pratchett had Alzheimer's - a rare sort, an early onset sort. 
I wanted to rage. "It isn't fair!" And it wasn't fair. The Senior Cat  had just wandered in. He had no idea who Pratchett was but he stood there watching the segment and then turned to me and asked,
"Who is that chap? His sense of humour just shines through."
 And it did. His writing is funny. It is funny in the very best sort of way. He took the real world and made people laugh at it - and by doing that he helped people to understand it as well.
 I was not, am not, an adoring fan of all things Discworld and Discworld alone. I read a great many other things as well. At the same time I know many children, usually boys, who have met Pratchett's writing. Some of them have never really gone beyond Pratchett but, for most, his writing means they have gone on to other things. 
I would have read Pratchett to children at school - in that last precious moment on Friday afternoons when there was always "the book" to be read. I would have read Pratchett to them along with Tolkien, Rowling, Gaiman and others who should all be part of a child's cultural literacy. Children need his books and they need books like his. They may not seem like much to some adults - the sort of adults who would not read his adult works either - but books like Pratchett's are essential mental exercise. They exercise the imagination. 
As I have said elsewhere in my witterings, the Senior Cat is a "magician". He loves "magic" - as in "conjuring". He sees it as an essential part of his life. He agrees with what Pratchett said somewhere in "A Hat Full of Sky"
"It's still magic - even if you know how it's done."
The problem is that too many people don't recognise magic. They don't know how it is does done. They think it doesn't matter.
But it does.


jeanfromcornwall said...

I too am sorry that he has gone -but glad that he slipped out the natural way.
All of my children appreciated him - and continue to enjoy his books. Like the very best comdians, he did not deal in one-liners, but his was observational humour - and he had a very sharp eye.

catdownunder said...

Awful way to go for anyone but perhaps even worse for a writer, artist, musician type of person