The Glorious 25th of May

Truth! Justice! Freedom! Reasonably priced love and a hard-boiled egg.

Pin-mockup

Today is when we remember the People’s Revolution of the Glorious 25th of May. Or you do if you’re a Terry Pratchett fan. I’m wearing the lilac today – which in this case is a pin badge.

In Terry Pratchett’s Discworld, the lilac is worn by people (characters, I mean) who lived through the revolution in honour of the seven who died; John Keel, Cecil Clapman, Horace Nancyball, Billy Wiglet, Dai Dickins, Ned Coates, and (temporarily at least) Reg Shoe.

For Pratchett’s fans, it’s also been adopted as the symbol of support for Alzheimer’s research fundraising, since the author himself suffered and was eventually taken by this embuggerance, as he named it.

This may all seem pretty bizarre to non-Pratchett readers. It may seem crazy that I’ve spent most of the morning remembering, in vivid detail, every scene from the book and feeling genuine emotion for the characters. And when I remember that the great man himself is dead and that there will never be another Discworld book, it’s enough to make me tear up. Like my arm has been ripped from me.

I have to keep reminding myself that it’s all fiction! It’s nothing but a book on a shelf. An audio file on my computer. It’s just posters and artwork which litter my flat. It’s not real.

But the emotions I feel for the characters are as real as anything. I ache. I physically miss Vetinari and Vimes. And Susan, Angua, Carrot and Cheri. The Librarian. Gaspode. And Moist and Adora. And Nobby Nobbs. Too many to name. All of them. I miss the world which flies through space on the back of the Great A’Tuin.

There’s no point telling me it’s not real. The books have informed so much of my life. I have half a dozen quotes pulled from his books which are basically my mantras. I adopted the idea of Narrative Causality. Pratchett’s DEATH will be the one who’ll meet me at the end of my life, that’s just who DEATH is for me now. I resist the urge to write wizard with two ‘z’. I compare politicians to Havelock Vetinari and every business man to Harry King.

I’ve always wanted to be a writer because words are the most powerful thing in the universe. Written or oral. How else would it be possible for a combination of shapes, which can’t be measured or weighed, to have the ability to make us cry, or terrify us, or inspire us, or make us fall in love? Telling someone a story creates entire worlds in their head, which they get to keep and explore. Telling stories creates living people out of thin air who will walk with us forever.

It’s a gift beyond gifts. It’s a superpower.

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