I never met Sir Terry Pratchett.
I remember taking The Light Fantastic into primary school when I was in P7. My dad had bought it for me in the airport, returning from one of his at least weekly trips. "This looks like it's a lot like Douglas Adams, you'll probably like it."
I devoured it, a little confused by reading a second book first. I loved it.
In an age of ebooks, I still buy hardback Pratchett. And ebook. And audio.
When I was 16 Sir Terry did a signing in Belfast. It was at lunch and I was in school. My father took a sports hold-all with all my books to date in it down. And a floppy disc with the up to date annotated Pratchett file. Sir Terry said it was a lot of books and likely to upset the line, would he leave them? Dad returned later, the books all signed, dedicated and enhanced by drawings and amusing notes.
He wrote "Sad!" on the floppy.
From then on any time Sir Terry came up in conversation my father always reminded me what a wonderful man he'd been that day.
When news of the Embuggerance broke I was starting Nation. I stopped it. Put it away. For when there are no more new Pratchett novels. I promised myself "When I know there are no more, and his last book is out, then I will have one more treat left."
I find I have three, and soon four. Nation, The Long Mars, Dragons At Crumbling Castle and soon The Long Utopia. I am unsure if Shepherd's Crown is coming. I think I'll save Dragons to read to my son.
Sir Terry Pratchett's writing has had more impact on me than anyone outside my immediate family. I quote his work, and things he has said about life, death and kindness to others form part of the core of my value system and my personality.
I never met Sir Terry Pratchett. But the ripples he left in my life will go on until I too take the hand and step onto the black desert below the endless night.
My thoughts and well wishes lie with his family.