, source here
. Likely everyone who this news matters to will have seen it elsewhere by now.( Text behind cut here )
So. It turns out it was not a stroke Terry Pratchett had. Instead, he has been disagnosed with a form of Alzheimer's. I am not going to eulogise him, not yet, even knowing that with such a condition there may come no other clear point before death that such a thing might seem appropriate. As he says, he is not dead yet and I have done enough mourning the living.
Although I am sad (have cried, am
crying)... I do not know how to finish that sentence. I would like to feel that nothing has changed because nothing has, except an increase in my knowledge of the state of the world. A reminder. It is a reminder. I might have thought him immortal otherwise and humans being humans, doubt I am alone in that.
To request cheerfulness, well. It is not a thing many could manage at such a moment. In the future... people can manage many things but I am not right now looking forward to the next time I read one of his books, yet of all times to be reminded of transience, of sadness, that is one of the best. I do not imagine reading one of his books without being filled with, not only laughter (not mere
I might say, except laughter is not) but life and love and hope.
His works are thoroughly humanist. They capture the smallness of our species, the bizarre and even awful things we do, just because that is what we do, or it is our job, or we mean well.
And what it is that the universe simply is and has no thought or care, no malice or love for us or any other clump of metal, and the simply amazing way we make up things like love and justice and evil and don't even realise how odd it is to be human and maybe people do awful things to each other but they also do wonderful things and without us maybe there would be no one to appreciate what a- what a wondrous/beautiful/amazing universe it is in which we exist.
Alzheimer's is one of the reasons people in my family favour euthanasia. Although I never knew her, I have heard more than once of my great grandmother who lost her mind to it a decade before her body died in a nursing home. It is a fate many seem to find especially frightening. We are our minds, after all, more than our bodies, even if we cannot exist without both. I will take the rest of this thought train elsewhere.
It seems I have eulogised without meaning to. Well, as much as I like to think myself an independently inventive creature of thought, we all have influences. Terry Pratchett and Greg Egan perhaps played the greatest in shaping my thought. Certainly they are the only writers I can think of who I can read and say "Yes." I had been intending to say earlier that he (and, Egan added, they) understand how things are, but given the order of things, perhaps it is I who see what they say. It is not as if being the centre of one's own lightcone gives one priority.
I am mad, too. If something happened to an actor (and of course by this I mean an officially famous actor, not all those millions of others. haha) it would be all over the news. Why then no mention of one who writes the words that touch many millions of people? We are social creatures and often hideously vain. It seems not right that someone who has created a connection between so many, who writes so affectionately of what we are, faults and virtues both, should not have such significant personal news remarked upon.
Bah. At other times I write wishing there would be less celebrity. This time I am being annoyed that the creators of art are not seen to be as important as those who create it. They are prettier though. Better finish this post before things get any more out of hand.
There is something else humans have invented: Hope. Perilous to rely on, sometimes the strength it gives can make it a self-fulfilling idea.