Photo taken by Robin Zebrowski.

I hope you’ve never read Terry Pratchett.

I hope you look at Twitter and Facebook and see all the encomiums to Terry Pratchett and ask yourself, “What’s the deal? Why is everyone getting worked up over one English guy with a giant hat?”

I hope that curiosity sends you to the library or your bookstore (preferably the dusty, musty second-hand kind that sells books by the pound and has a cat that wanders around until it finds a nice stack for a nap), and you browse the section set aside just for Terry Pratchett.

I hope you pull down a book (my first taste of his writing was Good Omens, and I only read it because I loved Neil Gaiman and consumed everything he wrote. My first book of his that he wrote on his own The Light Fantastic, read that miserable year Up The Mountain when the library was my only true friend. I laughed. I needed the laughs. Then there was a giant gap until 2010 when I had bought a smartphone and discovered that his books were available on iBooks; I inhaled every book about the Watch. I made sure to get Grace a copy of Where’s My Cow?, and I still get teary-eyed at the last page. I’m sure I’ll openly weep now), and I hope you start reading. If you don’t laugh within the first few pages, that’s okay. Pull down another book. During his long career, Sir Terry Pratchett wrote a lot of books. One of them is for you.

I hope when you find the Terry Pratchett book that he wrote for you that you love it. And I hope it makes you decide to read the rest of his books, because you’ll likely find things in there that you’ll love. There are terrible, terrible puns. There’s comedy and tragedy and gentle prods at our human foibles and sharp stabs at the horrible things we do. There is such a marvel of work that I hope you discover something that speaks to you and makes you laugh.

I hope you’ve never read Terry Pratchett, because, once you do, your outlook on the world and writing and death all change. Especially death. I’m angry at Death right now for taking Terry Pratchett, just like I’m angry at a mind like Terry Pratchett’s was struck with something as cruel as Alzheimer’s. I know that will pass. I know it will take a long time for it to pass for his family and friends. I’m just a fan, just another scribbler whose own mind has had some bits flipped thanks to my time in Discworld. I’m sad I never had a chance to thank him in person.

I hope you’ve never read Terry Pratchett, because, once you have, I think you’ll feel this same stupid weight of mourning that I do. And then we can have a drink and talk about our favorite quotes and remember how fucking lucky we were that we’re alive at a time when Terry Pratchett wrote.