I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe

The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken

Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
-Bertrand Russell

What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell

March 12, 2015 - 2:31 p.m.

Reaper Man

I already wrote today but I have to write again. This is an emergency, Terry Pratchett died. My favorite living author is no long living. He is the only author who I automatically read his books as they come out. Do a search for Pratchett and see how many times I've written about him. When I'm in doubt of what to read I read Pratchett. When I want to feel better I read Pratchett. If I want the world to make sense I read Pratchett. How many times have I written about "Sensible world that sits on the back of four elephants that stand atop the world turtle, the great A'Tuin?"

I felt bad when Leonard Nimoy died, I feel worse about Pratchett. I can no longer look forward to new books coming out. This is a real loss. The world is simply not as good as it was with him alive. This isn't about nostalgia. It is about the here and now.

What I loved about Pratchett is that he got it. He realized how much of what everybody knows is just shared delusion or social convention. His protagonists aren't heroes because of their numinous birth or magical powers they were born with but because they are smart and they know what's real and what isn't.

He knew that people were stupid, vain, delusional, unfocused, at utterly wonderful. He knew that rock and roll and movies have the power to transverse universes. He knew that the essence of being a magical person is knowing things that everyone doesn’t know. He knew that steam locomotives are as magical as dragons. He created my favorite literary child, Tiffany Aching. Yes I love her more than even Alice or Dorothy or Huck.

I have to thank Frances for introducing me to Terry Pratchett. She sent me the English Editions of the first two Discworld Books and the fourth. I've been hooked ever since.

He wrote the greatest book on atheism, Small Gods; a god is one of the characters. He could have exchanges like this from Lords and Ladies Granny Weatherwax the most powerful witch in Discworld is the first speaker.

"Once you start paddlin' with the occult you start believing in spirits, and when you start believing in spirits you start believing in demons, and then you know where you are you're believing in gods. And then you're in trouble"

"But all them things exist." Said Nanny Ogg.

"That's no call to go around believing in them. It only encourages 'em."

I'm looking at what I've said about Pratchett before. This is a good one. If Voldemort and Dumbledore and all the death eaters and Hogworts faculty went up against Granny they'd live to regret it … if they were lucky and Granny was feeling generous."

I read more than Discworld books. This came from an entry about Dodger his last book outside the Discworld Series.

Pratchett's worlds are all better designed than the so-called real one. If it has an author he (or she) is not a good one. Things don't hang together. Pratchett sees the world from the same place I do. He is feeling the same part of the elephant of reality.

You want to understand how money works? Read Making Money. Do that and you'll see how empty the notions of the goldbugs are.

Thanks to Pratchett I know that I'm a witch to my bones.

Pratchett knew that the world needs a hapless but lucky wizard like Rincewind, a top copper like Sam Vines, a brilliant ruler like Lord Vetinari, a clever and charismatic hustler like Moist Von Lipwig, an orangutan Librarian, a talking dog like Gaspode, Cut My Own Throat Dibbler, a scientific genius like Leonardo of Qum, and all the other wonderful characters.

And then there's DEATH. He is in all the adult Discworld books. DEATH is the personification of death. He's not a bad guy. He's a decent sort who tries his best. He always speaks in capital letters. When the sand in someone's hourglass runs out DEATH meets her. He doesn't know what happens afterward and doesn't care. That's not his job. Wizards and cats can see DEATH before he comes for them. Pratchett's cat was on the bed with him when he died. He had company seeing DEATH. He'd like that. He'd know it's pure nonsense and like it anyway.

The Mac Nac Feegle think life in Discworld is so good that they must be dead and Discworld is the afterlife and their reward. So maybe Pratchett is now a little blue pictsie, not pixie, drunk and brawling and enjoying every second of life and shouting, Crivens! Nah he's not but that doesn't mean I can't think about him doing that. It's not a delusion if you know it isn't real.

I write in a voice that at least to me feels like Pratchett's. This is not something deliberate. I never try to write like Pratchett. It's that Pratchett writes in the voice that feels natural to me. I don't write like him because I love him. I love him because he writes the way I think. I take it a bit personal when people don't like his writing as I wonder how they can like me. Pratchett clearly wrote just for me and if you happen to enjoy his books too, that's an unplanned but fortunate side effect. You can thank me if you wish.

I'm really happy to see so many other people posting about him on Facebook. So often I read everyone feeling bad about some mediocre actor dying and don't get it at all. This time I get to share the grief. That feels like a Pratchett thought.

A Sensible World and Its Creator

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Memories: Not that Horrid Song - May 29, 2018
Wise Madness is Now In Session - May 28, 2018
The NFL and the First Amendment - May 27, 2018
On The Road Again - May 26, 2018
Oliver the Three-Eyed Crow - May 25, 2018

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Horvendile March 12, 2015
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