Wednesday, 11 February 2009

A world without words

Surely a world without words would be the worst thing a writer could imagine, his stock in trade stolen from him; that which gives him pleasure and purpose denied him. So, imagine how Sir Terry Pratchett feels right now, having been diagnosed with PCA, a form of Alzheimer's Disease for which there is (currently) no cure.

Having heard about Sir Terry's condition on the news some months ago I was one of millions who sat down to watch the first part of Terry Pratchett: Living with Alzheimer's, on BBC2 last week. Not only was it a fascinating - learning more about the illness - and moving programme - the moment when after a long day the author tried reading from his new book in front of a crowd of dedicated fans - but it also gave an insight into another writer's world - all the Discworld paraphernalia cluttering his office with its six screens ('Because there isn't room for eight!') and the whole publicity machine of which Sir Terry is a part.

The part that really made me smile, though, was when Sir Terry's wife and assistant went through a list of symptoms of dementia and came to the conclusion that the list actually described a writer, so how could they tell the difference?

Part 2 is on tonight, BBC 2 at 9.00pm. If you missed Part 1, you can watch it again here. To find out more about this programme click here.

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