When I heard yesterday that Sir Terry Pratchett had passed away, my first thought was to make something to pay tribute to the man and his work, but then I realised that Terry Pratchett’s writings have already inspired me in so many ways over the years.
Although my heart hurts today, it makes me happy to know that, in 2008, he got to see my tribute to his work in the form of my Amigurumi Discworld, and I hope he could tell from that how much his books mean to me:
See my Amigurumi Discworld page for more details on this project
I’ve just realised that Terry Pratchett’s books have been a part of my life for over a quarter of a century! At age 11, when my best friend recommended Reaper Man to me, I took one look at the skeleton on the cover and decided it looked weird, creepy, and definitely not a book I’d enjoy reading. Luckily I ignored that first impression and trusted my friend (thank you Helen, wherever you are now) and my life was forever changed…
I could never have guessed that Death, that ‘weird, creepy’ skeleton, would become one of my favourite characters in literature! That’s part of the Pratchett genius, and something you can’t possibly understand until you read his books. The characters, the humour, and the way the strands of the plot always come together in such a satisying way by the end of the book – every Terry Pratchett book is a gem.
As time went by, I devoured every new Discworld book as soon as I could get my hands on it. In high school, I was delighted to ‘get’ the Shakespearean references in Wyrd Sisters after studying Macbeth in English classes. During my student days, I queued for hours at Cambridge book signings to exchange a few words with the man himself and get a favourite book or two signed. And commuting through a long Canadian winter (2 hours each way, driving cross-country through the darkness and snowstorms) was made bearable by having my Discworld audiobooks for company.
See my Crocheted Orangutan page for more details on this project
My enduring love for orangutans was first sparked by Terry’s interest in them via, of course, the Librarian from the Discworld books, and also by a documentary he made (Terry Pratchett’s Jungle Quest) about his trip to Borneo to see the endangered orang utan population. This not only led to my year-long art project to make a life-size realistic poseable baby orang utan (above), but also to last year’s trip to Borneo where I trekked through jungle (with my bad knee!) just so I too could see orangs in the wild.
And it’s not just the Discworld books: his Bromeliad trilogy for children (Truckers, Diggers, and Wings) – together with a documentary by my other hero, David Attenborough – inspired me to learn about, and create my own, tiny bromeliad-dwelling frog:
Which in turn led to my Poison Dart Frog crochet pattern:
As you can see, Terry Pratchett’s writing has always been a source of enjoyment and inspiration to me. Last year, I started re-reading all the Discworld books, and once I finish those, I’m going to continue reading (or re-reading) the entire Pratchett canon – I know it’ll be a pleasure.
Although I’m desperately sad to know that he’s no longer with us, Sir Terry will live on forever through his books, which will continue to inspire and delight me and millions of other people all over the world. Now that’s a legacy to be proud of.