Tag Archives: death

At Last, Sir Terry, We Must Walk Together Book Notes 03 APR 2015

I read ferociously as a child, going through whatever my local library could throw at me at incredible pace. As a teenager I continued to read, though not quite at the same pace, and by my twenties this frequency had dropped even further. In my thirties, I read even less, maybe one book every year and a half – if that.

However, without fail, you can be guaranteed that that one book is without a doubt something written by Sir Terry Pratchett, a lifelong favourite of mine – indeed a man whose books I read at every twist and turn of my life, and whose books I’ll probably continue to read until the day that I die. (His is also the only author whose books I could actually be bothered to own!)

Sadly though, going forward there won’t be much more of that.

On the 12th of March 2015, at the young age of 66, following a long and drawn out battle against a particularly vicious early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, Sir Terry Pratchett passed away.

terry pratchett inside every old person quote

His passing was announced on his official Twitter account in the most apt way possible (in his books, Death always speaks in capitals):

AT LAST, SIR TERRY, WE MUST WALK TOGETHER.

Terry took Death’s arm and followed him through the doors and on to the black desert under the endless night.

The End.

Taken from the official press release: “Terry passed away in his home, with his cat sleeping on his bed surrounded by his family on 12th March 2015. Diagnosed with PCA1 in 2007, he battled the progressive disease with his trademark determination and creativity, and continued to write. He completed his last book, a new Discworld novel, in the summer of 2014, before succumbing to the final stages of the disease.”

For those of you who are perhaps not so familiar with the name, a quick grab off Wikipedia yields the following:

“Sir Terence David John “Terry” Pratchett, Kt, OBE (28 April 1948 – 12 March 2015) was an English author of fantasy novels, especially comical works. He is best known for his Discworld series of about 40 volumes. Pratchett’s first novel, The Carpet People, was published in 1971, and since his first Discworld novel, The Colour of Magic, was published in 1983, he wrote two books a year on average. His 2011 Discworld novel Snuff was at the time of its release the third-fastest-selling hardback adult-audience novel since records began in the UK, selling 55,000 copies in the first three days.

Pratchett, who has sold more than 85 million books worldwide in 37 languages, was the UK’s best-selling author of the 1990s.

Pratchett was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1998 and was knighted for services to literature in the 2009 New Year Honours. In 2001 he won the annual Carnegie Medal for The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents, the first Discworld book marketed for children. He received the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement in 2010.”

josh kirby rincewind terry pratchett illustration

A comical literary legend indeed.

So that’s that then. I’m pleased that I can say that I actually met the man in real life, way back when I was still in school (i.e. sometime back in the 90’s), when good friend Terrance Brown dragged me off with him to Middle Campus at the University of Cape Town for a seminar (where I remember Terry spoke quite a bit on the topic of orangutans) and book signing stint (I remember taking a picture of Terrance and Terry together).

In fact, it was that very meeting that got me started on Pratchett’s books in the first place!

I’ll miss the the clever wit, excellent storytelling, fantastic settings, and colourful characters that Terry dreamed up over the years, but that said, thanks to his prolific writing nature, there will always be such a big backlog to devour over and over again that I doubt he and his contribution to the literary world will ever quite be forgotten!

Well certainly not by me, that’s for sure. Rest in peace Sir Terry Pratchett.

sir terry pratchett walking with deathRelated Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terry_Pratchett

Comic Book Art: Death (Neil Gaiman) by Aly Fell Comic Book Art | Comic Books 22 NOV 2012

Aly Fell (Alastair Fell to his mum) is a Manchester, England based illustrator and concept artist with well over 20 years of experience in both the animation and games industry, having previously worked as an animator at Cosgrove Hall Films. Currently a freelance illustrator and seemingly doing quite well for himself, Aly is best known for his female form art, more of which can be found on his blog here.

This stunningly detailed illustration of his depicts Death, older sister of Dream, from Neil Gaiman’s spellbinding and quite frankly seminal comic book series, The Sandman.

Joke Factory: How To Break Bad News Jokes & other Funny Stuff 30 SEP 2011

Six retired Irishmen were playing poker in O’Leary’s apartment when Paddy Murphy loses £250 on a single hand, clutches his chest, and drops dead at the table. Showing respect for their fallen brother, the other five continue playing standing up.

Eventually Michael looks around and asks, “Oh me boys, someone has to tell Paddy’s wife. Who will it be?”

They draw straws. Paul picks the short one. They tell him to be discreet, be gentle, and most important of all, don’t make a bad situation any worse.

“Discreet!? I’m the most discreet Irishman you’ll ever meet. Discretion is my middle name. Leave it to me.”

So Paul goes over to Paddy’s house and knocks on the door. Mrs. Murphy answers, and asks what he wants.

Paul promptly declares, “Your husband just lost £250, and is afraid to come home.”

“Tell him to drop dead!”, shouts Paddy’s wife.

“I’ll go tell him,” replied Paul with a smile.

News Desk: Irony and Helmets General Nonsense 06 JUL 2011

A stupid way to die, and even a more stupid way to demonstrate that what you were protesting against is idiotic:

Police say a motorcyclist participating in a protest ride against helmet laws in upstate New York died after he flipped over the bike’s handlebars and hit his head on the pavement.

Continue reading here

Moral of the story: Wear your stupid looking helmet whenever you get on anything that has only two wheels!

Related Link: http://old.news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110703/ap_on_re_us/us_motorcyclist_dies_helmet_protest

Cats versus Birds My Life 17 JUN 2011

So on the day we were expecting the first visit from Mom and Pops to the Gordon’s Bay Lotter stronghold in absolute ages, guess what happened?

Well, as I should have known, I strolled past the bathroom in the morning, only to recoil in horror as the sight inside caught my unsuspecting eye. Yup, an absolute bloody explosion of feathers and bird bits covered the floor of our guest bathroom.

Stupid cats.

So one clean-up later, and with everything good to go, I get a shout to come outside from Chantelle. And there, by the outside braai, is Chantelle and the small Mossie she had plucked to freedom away from the cats. The little bird was still a young chick, unable to fly, and unfortunately, now very far away from its a) nest and b) protective parents.

Unfortunately, with no real alternative open to us, Chantelle carefully placed the Mossie into a tree and shooed the cats away, but as we expected, the minute our backs were turned the chick was turned into chow.

Nature is pretty cruel that way sometimes.

Covered: The Books of Magic #25 (Chris Bachalo) Comic Book Art | Comic Books 04 JUN 2011

Chris Bachalo remains one of my favourite artists, thanks to his hauntingly beautiful and shadowed work, all of which is wonderfully brooding and stylized, but not so much that it becomes too distorted and unrecognisable.

From his awesome pencils on mature titles like DC Vertigo’s Shade, The Changing Man and Death, Marvel’s Generation X and X-Men and his own project Steampunk, Chris continues to amaze each and every time he puts pencil to paper.

This particular cover he whipped up for the spellbinding Books of Magic title from DC/Vertigo, instantly capturing the enigmatic and magical feel of the title as it confidently hit its quarter of a hundred mark back in 1996.

Featuring Death, Timothy Hunter and a whole lot of cherubs, how can you not marvel at this?

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Books_of_Magic

Death, New Life, Insurance? My Life 19 MAY 2010

Last Friday didn’t get off to the best of starts, and technically the drive home didn’t end on a good note either.

You see, I arrived early morning at the Steenberg Virgin Active gym like I always do and as I proceeded to swipe in, I was asked to please stick to the one side of the gym as they were currently dealing with a medical emergency on the other side. There on the lower level, down the left hand side of the pool a number of screens had been put up and you could see a number of paramedics working on someone lying down on the ground. Twenty minute or so later, the foil sheets were pulled up, police arrived and a bodybag made its appearance.

You see, as Chantelle later confirmed via a newspaper article, a middle-aged man had succumbed to a rather unexpected heart attack while swimming laps.

This got me then thinking about how death really can strike at any time and now with all my family responsibilities, I really do need to make better preparations for that possible eventuality. After all, now that I have a child on the way and something was say to happen to me, how would my wife be able to cope financially, never mind emotionally and everything else that comes with an unexpected death?

So what does this mean?

Well for starters, it does mean that I really should start looking after myself a bit better. I’m one of those “if I don’t know about it then I don’t have to worry about it” sort of blokes and as such have no idea of  my current health status other than the rather informal “I feel fine” verbal test. Maybe, just maybe I guess I need to start forming some sort of relationship with a healthcare practitioner sooner than later, something I’m pretty sure Chantelle will be pretty wild about! :)

More importantly than that, I do now have to look into things like life insurance policies and the like, because quite frankly, I really don’t want to sit with a situation where if I pass away my wife and child are dropped into absolute poverty or something like that. Of course, this means a bit of legwork from my side, and also leaves me with a question or two which I guess I’ll have to make time to find the answer to.

Sigh, all these extra things to think of and plan for now that one has padded themself with a family!

But responsibility is good and providing for is one of the things that makes a man a man and for that I am pleased to be in the process of building up the next generation Lotter family.

But it wasn’t good starting the day witnessing the life of a man ebb away after something as trivial as swimming a lap in a pool. Nor was it good to witness another man lying dead in the road after being knocked down by a car on my way home…

I won't lie, the desire to continue my morning gym session was not particularly strong after the incident.

Letting Go General Nonsense 03 MAY 2008

Letting GoI got an interesting contact through this blog the other day in the form of a girl asking about information surrounding the time when I still worked at California Pizza kitchen, way back in 1998-2000. It turns out that she’s the girl that moved in with Warwick (the then owner) before he died of a drug overdose in late 1999 (more or less. Those dates sound about right to me). The thing is, they had a bit of a breakup before he passed away, and thanks to that, she was kept completely out of the loop with regards to the time and events following his death.

Now this is a girl that moved out of home and into the house of a much older man at the young age of 19, so you know things aren’t necessarily all that alright with her but from conversing with her via email she seems like a nice enough person. Despite that though, you can immediately pick up that she is not all that well adjusted and seems a little bit on the fragile side in terms of psyche.

The question that I have to ask is how a person can hold on so tightly to an incident that happened 10 or so years ago, so much so that it interferes with their life today. This girl blames herself for Warwick’s death or at least that she was a contributing factor in it and that feeling seemingly won’t go away and continuously haunts her, even after all this time that has passed in the meantime. She still holds onto the items that he bought for her way back when and fondly remembers him, even though he has been gone for so long.

Surely a person can let go of something given enough time? Or is that only myself thinking? Remember, I am the kind of person who can’t stand weak people and who can’t stand people who are unable to overcome their own emotional baggage. I have no sympathy for people with suicidal tendencies nor do I have the time of day for anyone who battles with an addiction. If you are not strong enough to battle with your own demons then that is your problem. I do not have any sympathy for you. It is up to you to overcome your environmental and internal factors that rule your life and you are weak if you are unable to do even that.

So am I wrong in saying that this girl should have let go of this matter years ago and moved on with her life? She is desperately seeking his grave or final resting place so that she can go and say her goodbyes, and this matter seems to be of paramount importance to her. And therein lies the problem – I could probably understand that she wants to know where he was laid to rest, but I can’t understand why she still so desperately wants to know that NOW. Ten long years have passed and this girl has been unable to lay this issue to rest.

Is this normal? Are other people capable of letting things go and just forgetting? My mother and grandmother still feel a tinge of sadness and shed a tear or two around the anniversary of my mom’s brother’s death every year, and he passed away probably around the same period of time as Warwick. This is something I don’t understand. The past is the past, and you need to let go and forget, moving on with your own life that has its own story to tell. Perhaps this makes me hard-headed or stubborn or uncaring, but it is the truth.

That is the way I look at these types of things. I let go. Why don’t others?

Unfortunately as it turns out, I am not the person who is going to be able to help her in her quest as I really don’t have any information to give her. I have long since forgotten those years and the events that unfolded in them, so I can only hope that she somehow locates someone else who might have that information that she is so desperately seeking.

I hope you find the answers to your questions and that you can finally find the peace of mind that you are so looking for, because then maybe you will be able to let go… Good luck!