A few minutes ago, as I was sitting on the sofa drinking a tepid cup of coffee, bemoaning the ache in my back from cleaning nicotine stains off the ceiling and wondering which wall I should test the paint on that I had bought the previous day, the news appeared on Twitter that Sir Terry Pratchett had died and everything else was rendered completely unimportant.
Terry Pratchett has been a hero and an inspiration to me ever since I first borrowed Guards! Guards! from my local library over 25 years ago. His books shaped everything about me, from the way I write to how I look at the world. Whatever redeeming qualities can be found in either my stories or my personality stem to a large extent from him.
The world and characters he created often seemed more real to me than this world and, as selfish as it is, I find that I'm mourning the fact that I will never learn any more about the lives of Rincewind, Granny Weatherwax, Vimes, Nanny Ogg, Vetinari, Carrot and everyone else whose adventures filled up my life, almost as much as I'm mourning the passing of a wonderful man. But the fact that all those people existed at all is something to be celebrated and something I will forever be grateful for.
I suspect Sir Terry wouldn't approve of this hand-wringing nonsense so I'm going to try and stop being quite so maudlin and, instead of that, I'm going to say bollocks to decorating, make myself a fresh coffee (with perhaps a splash of Irish Cream in it), and see if I can find the box where I packed all my Pratchett books, because if there's one thing I've learned over the last quarter of a century it's that reading one of those will always make things seem a little bit brighter.
Goodbye Sir Terry, and thank you.