The Final Goodbye… When will I be able to?

Hello again lovely people…

Yes, you guessed it, your spam filter has failed again and let me through…

So are you ready? Shall we get started? Oh, you want to get a drink first? Well I don’t blame you… Best make it a large one, this could get mawkish…

As usual I don’t know where I’m going to go with this… Indeed I don’t even know where I’m going to start…

No honestly… Where to start?

.

..

I know what I want to talk about… In a general sort of way… A vague notion… Sort of…

So… Well… Yeah, um…

Oo! How about this? My beautiful Lone Support Angel bought me a lovely, thoughtful, beautiful and very much appreciated gift way back in June of this year…It arrived this week…

No, don’t go! I promise this isn’t going to be another of my delightful rants about the inefficiencies of retailers and/or delivery companies, rest easy… Well maybe have another sip of whatever it is you have in that glass… What is that by the way? Actually, I don’t want to know… Just, please, avoid using heavy machinery while you are on it…

So the reason it only arrived this week is because this week is when it came out… And if you know me in real life then you can probably guess what it is…For those that aren’t so cursed I had better reveal that it was a special limited edition of the latest Discworld novel… Wow, I’ve been saying “latest” for so long that it just slipped out… I suppose I should say it is the last…

I’m sorry, I’m having real trouble writing this… Not for the usual reasons of lack of anything interesting to actually say or because I’m too hippied to see straight… I just keep drifting off into reverie…

*weeeeeeee! are we gonna do the wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff?*

{No. Besides, I’m sure that that phrase is copyrighted. You just sit there and let me get this done without you and the rest of the idiots butting in.}

*aw, but you said the words that make the screen go all wavy and blurry. i love it when that happens becoz the next fing you no is you is back in time. and you might see disonaurs and romans and evryfing.*

{Sorry Little Dude but this isn’t one of those stories, this one is more about my history than the stuff I study. Maybe next time I will tell you about the fun stuff…}

I think it might help you to know why I still have trouble processing the last Discworld novel… not the words… the object… the book itself…

You see, I have been a huge fan of the Discworld and it’s Creator for a very long time, almost since the very first book was published… *

I wasn’t the first in my family to discover The Disc. My older brother had that honour and it was through him that the denizens of Ankh-Morpork, the Witches of Lancre and, a particular well travelled Wizzard began to enter my conciousness… I didn’t jump straight onto the Disc though, I sidled into it’s orbit slightly less gracefully than Corporal Nobbs enters Capt. Carrot’s office in search of the tea-kitty… In the early ’90s I found my brother’s copy of Good Omens** and proceeded to devour it in about three hours; after sitting breathless, aching and tear-streaked for about an hour, trying to process what I had just read and still giggling at the jokes***. I rushed out and snapped up the first three novels that afternoon… You could say that I was hooked from that very first moment…

Hooked? Did I say hooked? I think I should say that I immersed myself in the the environs of the Disc at every opportunity … I wanted to live there… I couldn’t get between those pages enough… I’m sure I’m not the only one that has walked into a bookshop or library with that tiny wish that this time I will find the passage through L-Space…

I have, over the years, experienced the Discworld through lots of different media  I have played the games, watched the TV adaptions, directed (and had a walk-on part in) Wyrd Sisters; I own dried frog pillboxes, Dwarf Bread and an Ankh-Morpork passport (among lots of other wonderful things that fans and friends of The Creator have produced over the years)… I even went (with Lone Support Angel) to the 2006 convention – that was quite a bitter sweet event actually… I got to meet The Creator for the second time (joy) though I did get a bit tongue-tied and gushing fanboyish when I tried to invite him to see our production of Wyrd Sisters… Unfortunately my lovely Lone Support Angel was taken violently ill during the Gala Dinner and while I was arranging an ambulance for her somebody swiped our commemorative shot glasses from our table… we never did get back to the convention as L.S.A. spent the next three days in hospital with very serious food-poisoning… The lovely people behind the convention did try to replace the stolen shot glasses for us but nothing ever came of it 😦

Sorry, got a bit side-tracked there…

Where were we?

Oh yeah… the books… the books were something special… The anticipation of a new one, the excitement when we found out whether it would be a Rincewind, or a Witches, or a Watch novel… or if this time it would be something completely new… Of course, like many of PTerry’s fans, I shared the books with other members of my family… I shared the Disc with my late father… Indeed, the only books I ever saw my father read were Discworld… Not that my father didn’t read anything else it’s just that this series was the only one my father and I would not only have hours long conversations about, but would display the same giddy excitement about the new one… Whenever I was out with my father and he was forced to use his wheelchair we would joke that he should be referred to as Windle Poons… I think that if I had ever been able to find a true bath-chair for my old man he would’ve quite happily kitted it out with all the bells and whistles Poons’ “Great Toe-Crusher” displayed (and probably blades on the wheel-hubs 😉 )…

*i miss the old man*

{So do I Big Man. So do I}

So now we come to the purpose of this blog… [Purpose? Does this thing have a purpose? I thought we were heading {Do NOT finish that sentence! I have already warned people that this one may get mawkish… Of course, that’s assuming anybody is still reading it… Hello? is there anybody out there?… Look, just butt out of this one ok…} Yeah OK…]

And so The Shepherds Crown arrived this week (last week actually, yes it has taken me that long to write this…) and now I am facing a dilemma… I have books to finish… I have other books to read… I have this burning desire to read it but I also know that this will be the final goodbye… Can I actually bring myself to actually say goodbye?

The Discworld has been a huge part of my life for so very long now…

Lone Support Angel asked me if the reaction I am having was similar to when the greatest musical influence on my life passed… I honestly don’t know… I know that when my musical hero died I played his albums non-stop for about three weeks… and I was lucky in that there was more stuff he had recorded and that that was released posthumously… Yes I know technically this book was released post-vitality but it’s not the same…

In reading this final book I will never be able to pick up a new one… I will never be able to get it signed… I will never be able to thank The Creator for his words and his magic…

I know I will read it… I must… I need to know how it all ends…

I just don’t know when…

This may sound strange but while there were still books “coming soon” I could imagine that I still had a connection with my late father… I know he would never read them but it was a way to keep him with me for just a little longer… Don’t get me wrong, I grieved for my father a long time ago but the magic of the Disc was something we shared and now even that tenuous link has gone…

So maybe I should treat the book as a plaster and rip it off… save myself the pain of the slow removal… just get stuck in…

I have tried… I have pulled the book from it’s slip-case… I have seen which number of the 5000 it is… I just can’t actually turn that first page…

I will… Just… Not yet…

I did warn you that this could get mawkish… Maybe I should have said it would also get maudlin…

Maybe I’ll hold off until my B’day? Maybe until Yulemas? It may well be that I suddenly find the strength to open it tomorrow…

I’ll let you know…

*The Colour of Magic (TCoM) first published in the UK 1983.

** Good Omens first published 1990

***not a particularly elegant sentence but hopefully readable 😉

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