Sunday, June 22, 2008

Terry Pratchett On Questions & Belief

Terry recently wrote an article for the Mail in which he discusses the rumor he has found God:

There is a rumour going around that I have found God. I think this is unlikely because I have enough difficulty finding my keys, and there is empirical evidence that they exist.

But it is true that in an interview I gave recently I did describe a sudden, distinct feeling I had one hectic day that everything I was doing was right and things were happening as they should.

It seemed like the memory of a voice and it came wrapped in its own brief little bubble of tranquillity. I'm not used to this.

He goes on to say,

As a boy I had a clear image of the Almighty: He had a tail coat and pinstriped trousers, black, slicked-down hair and an aquiline nose.

On the whole, I was probably a rather strange child, and I wonder what my life might have been like if I'd met a decent theologian when I was nine.

About five years ago that child rose up in me again and I began work on a book, soon to see the light of day as Nation. It came to me overnight, in all but the fine detail.

It is set on a world very like this one, at the time of an explosion very like that of Krakatoa, and in the centre of my book, a 13-year-old boy, now orphaned, screams at his gods for answers when he hasn't fully understood what the questions are.

He hates them too much not to believe. He has had to bury his own family; he is not going to give thanks to anyone. And I watched him try to build a new nation and a new philosophy.

It is a fascinating piece. The ending is especially good. I'm not going to quote that out of context here. It deserves to be read through and appreciated in full as a small window to the ways in which this man's beautiful mind and spirit work.



My thanks to Anna of the Seamstress Guild who sent this to me. Anna wears a number of hats. She is also the Moderator the the Message Board over at, and as such, she posts lovely tidbits like this there all the time. If you love Pratchett news, check it out.

Oh, and dear, lucky Anna is going to the Discworld Convention in the UK this coming August. Why even do I speak to her?

Update: 6/25 - The piece in the Mail on Sunday was not an interview with Terry as I had previously noted but written by him as an article, which he titled "The God Moment", and the Mail on Sunday printed it in full (apart from dropping the title). The words "by Terry Pratchett" were a significant clue which I had missed.

I've updated my post to reflect that fact - My thanks to Anna for the correction.

What's He Like?

If you've never met Terry at a signing or convention, here is a good example of what he's like from the blogger at Revenge of the Castanets: was the man that night that impressed me most. First of all, he took the stage like the most accomplished stand-up comedian and raconteur, speaking of living, of writing, and my friend of the soup, who had not read a word of his, found herself enraptured and in an almost unbroken state of helpless laughter. And second, though I have been around many authors, renowned and not, none have been quite as gracious with misfits, with the awkward ones who desire, such as the few I saw sporting remarkably bad theatrical English accents and costumes, which he seemed to both ignore and appreciate, posing for pictures with any and all, and with seemingly boundless genuine warmth.
Yep. Sounds like him.

Related Articles:

Nation by Terry Pratchett

Photo: One of my very favorite photos of Professor Terry As The Duck Man, taken at Noreascon Four, where Terry was the Guest of Honor. This photo has been wandering around the net for some time. If anyone knows who took this, please let me know so I can give them credit.

1 comment:

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