Terry Pratchett – Alzheimer’s and writingJune 19, 2009
If you haven’t read a Terry Pratchett book, stop reading this, run to your nearest bookstore, buy one and spend the rest of the day devouring it. His books are hilarious, thought-provoking and all around wonderful.
I just looked up his website this morning and found out that he has been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s Disease. This isn’t new news; I guess it was announced last year, but it’s new to me, and sad. Pratchett has written many, many, many novels, including the fabulous Discworld series and so funny Good Omens with recent Newberry Honor winner Neil Gaiman. And I hope there will be many more.
Pratchett says he hopes for the same. In a speech he gave to the Alzheimer’s Research Trust Conference last year (he gave them $1 million for Alzheimer’s research and points out the Alzheimer’s research has only 3% of the funds that cancer has, yet he knows of three people who have survived brain tumors and not one person has survived Alzheimer’s), Prachett says he wants to be around long enough to find a cure because he wants to keep on writing. Interestingly, he says that although small things have begun to challenge him, and he has voluntarily given up his driving license, his writing has not been affected. The words and stories are still swimming around in his brain as much as ever, but now he’s a little slower on the keyboard.
Terry Pratchett was always an inspiration to me because of his writing. Now, he’s even more an inspiration to me as he struggles to continue writing. There’s a lot we can learn from him.
There’s a great interview with Pratchett on his website with the author talking about story making. He says that wanting to write a story about pirates isn’t enough. You have to add more detail to make it more interesting and a story worth telling. I’ve embedded it below too.
Also, if you’d like to follow his example and donate to Alzheimer’s research (it doesn’t have to be $1 million :) ), here’s the Alzheimer’s Research Trust UK donation page and here’s the U.S. Alzheimer’s Association donation page.
Here’s the interview: