Moving on

Hello, update here: I have regretfully abandoned posting in the past few weeks, so here are a few additional signs of life.

First of all, my thesis has begun taking on its final form. The first 20,000 words are looking very good – I’ll have to wait for what my supervisors will say when I send the excerpt to them after Easter, but it feels great to see where things are going.

That said, the number of condolences and kind words I have received after Terry Pratchett’s passing are amazing. When I heard the news, it felt like a remote but nonetheless much beloved friend had gone out of my life. Then the messages started coming in. In the beginning I thought it rather surreal – Pratchett and Discworld have been my ongoing project for more than three years now, but I had had no personal contact with him except through his books. As more messages of condolences arrived, however, I felt touched. More than that, I felt not alone. A student and good friend of mine even called to see whether I was all right. Parts of me were.

I regret never meeting Pratchett. I feel sad about knowing that Discworld – if there will be future novels – is never going to be the same again. And I could still cry thinking about Neil Gaiman and what he must be feeling now.

But then again, I have written so much these past few weeks. It is looking really, really good. Many things will still need to be changed. But I know where it is going.

And I also know whose name will feature even more prominently in my acknowledgments.

Good, evil, and cats

Another thing I love about the Discworld is the fact that the whole spectrum of good and evil is addressed – often in the same characters. Vimes’ Summoning Dark demon (cf. Thud!) is one example, but my personal favourite is the Discworld portrayal of cats.

As Death states in Sourcery, “CATS ARE NICE.”, which establishes one of the recurring themes of the novels. It makes Death more likeable and at the same time acts as a moral compass: People who are cruel to animals (or who detest cats) are much more likely to be evil and/or meet Death at one point. Eight novels later, however, we have this quote from Lords and Ladies:

“If cats looked like frogs we’d realize what nasty, cruel little bastards they are. Style. That’s what people remember.”

Of course, cats are used as a metaphor for the elves’ cruelty hidden behind their apparent beauty, but the truth is that cats are both nice and nasty. Like Greebo, they can be an adorable ball of fur (Greebo in Nanny Ogg’s arms) or a murderous rampant beast (Greebo in nearly every other situation). It is this almost Faustian dichotomy that adds yet another layer of hidden depth to the Discworld and extends to all major characters.

And yes, I do like cats…

 

Pratchett quote of the day:

War pulled a large paper-wrapped package out of his saddlebag.

‘We’ve got…let’s see now…Egg and Cress, Chicken Tikka, and Mature Cheese with Crunchy Pickle, I think.’

THEY DO SUCH MARVELLOUS THINGS WITH SANDWICHES THESE DAYS.

‘Oh…and Bacon Surprise.’

REALLY? WHAT IS SO SURPRISING ABOUT BACON?

‘I don’t know. I suppose it comes as something of a shock to the pig.’

(Source: Interesting Times)