So I’ve never really had much time for him as a novelist – not being a lover of quirky fantasy novels – but the recent debate he’s sparked has ratcheted up my respect. Last night’s lecture (the text of which I read in The Guardian today – http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/feb/01/terry-pratchett-alzheimer-assisted-suicide) is a studied and excellently written appeal for some careful debate on an obviously difficult issue. In an era when so much politics and public debate seems sharply divided between black and white issues, someone thinking through the grey areas is something of a relief.
The other thing the article did was, inevitably, make me think about my dad. TP talks fondly of his dad and how their farewell conversations, while remembering how his father declined slowly in health. I’m honestly not sure if a farewell conversation was what we managed the last time I saw my dad, but I often think about conversations we may have these days. At the time his health had deteriorated so much in the week I was away (it was my first week at university) that it was pretty difficult to manage much more than a few words to him – I was shocked into tears at his appearance and really all I remember is that he hadn’t been shaved that day and his stubble was grey.
How would our conversations pan out now? I’ve a feeling a few heated debates over politics would dominate – his blinkered conservatism is definitely one of the reasons I hate the Tories so much these days. We had a few disagreements over politics but it wasn’t a particularly reasonable debate. You like to think that you’d manage to be more adult now but I’ve a feeling he’d probably reduce me to a jibbering and inadequate teenager every time.
Have honestly no idea where I’m going now with this. So I guess about the right time to stop.