In 1994 I joined the queue in WHSmith, Nottingham, to meet my idol and have my brand new hardback copy of Interesting Times signed. To cut a slightly longer story short, our meeting wasn't all I had hoped it might be and I was left mulling over the old adage, 'Never meet your heroes'. The experience certainly influenced how I interact with my own fans today, but the man remained an inspiration (even if I didn't dare speak to him in 2010 when we both attended the launch of SFX's Summer of Reading - because of what had happened 16 years previously), and it certainly didn't stop me from looking forward to every new Discworld release.
Of course, he wasn't only an inspiration to readers and writers. When he was diagnosed with his 'embuggerance', as he referred to the Alzheimer's, he became an inspiration to fellow sufferers and their families. And as a consequence he also ended up championing the assisted dying cause.
66 is no age, and it is certainly far too soon to lose our very own modern day Dickens. My thoughts are with his family at this time, but also with the rest of us, his readers, who won't get to enjoy another new book by our greatest comic writer, after The Shepherd's Crown is published later this year.
This book has sat on my 'To Read' pile for too long...
... so in memory of a great writer and an inspiration to thousands, including myself, tonight I shall start reading Raising Steam.
I don't normally feel the need to comment on the passing of public figures, but in the case of Sir Terry Pratchett, I'll make an exception. His passing earlier today has also brought to mind another old adage I used to live by, and need to remind myself of again, 'Carpe Diem'. Or to put it in the words of Sir Terry himself, "So much universe, and so little time."