Yesterday, after posting to Sir Terry Pratchett, I made sure to write an email to his agent, to ask permission for the quote that I used quite wrongly before aasking for permission. To my astonishment, I came home from a long day visiting the doctors inToronto today to find an email waiting for me. Here is what it said:
Without knowing of your email to me (which had been sidelined into my spam file) I'd emailed to your booksby address
"I much enjoyed your blog. As Terry's UK agent, I have no objection whatever to your quoting this, and if Random House in the UK or HarperCollins in the US get in touch - unlikely, I think - tell them I've written to you and they should contact me."
Thanks very much for your email. I am so glad that Terry's books have been so helpful to you - how could one not be? - and I am sure that you will again write books, not just blogs, for the sheer pleasure it brings you. Terry is fortunate in that the posterior cortical atrophy variant has little effect on the cognitive part of the brain, only on the motor, and while he cannot now physically write, he can dictate to his computer, and that is his joy. He's said that as long as he can do that, he is content, but if the time comes that he can no longer write, no longer create, then that will be the time to say goodbye. Fortunately the progress of the disease is very slow, and his symptoms are not very noticeable. He has found ways of working round most of them. After all, Nation was completed, and Unseen Academicals, I Shall Wear Midnight, and now his novel on Vimes's holiday at the Ramkin country estate have all been written since his diagnosis, and he's enjoying his collaboration with Stephen Baxter, so I think there are quite a few years' creation still in the pipeline.
Very best wishes
And so, you see, there are two lessons to be learned here:
(a) that life for a writer like Sir Terry Pratchett is worth living only if he can still create. For him, creation is joy, is probably life itself, in its own internal way.
(b) that you cannot quote from an author without it being noticed by someone with authority over the author's words. Isn't it amazing, that while my email sat in Sir Terry's agent's Spam box, he had already found this quote and given permission for it? Isn't that just AMAZING?
Life is full of synchronicities. Never, ever take them for granted. They're always meant.
Hope all is well with you all.
Welwyn on books