I had a conversation with a friend this week that has sort of stayed with me – haunted me if you will. We’ve all had those moments, when someone says something that just…sticks with you and becomes all you can think about.
We were talking about books.Specifically we were talking about the books that have left an impact on us,. The books we just can’t let go of. The ones that stay with us, guide us. Sometimes without us even realising it.
Eleven years ago, when I stood up in front of my entire college and all their family and friends and delivered the graduation speech, I wonder how many of them knew that I was quoting from Michael Crichton or Terry Pratchett? Probably not many. But that doesn’t make those words any less valid. Or any less important.
There are books that I come back to, over and over and over again. Books that speak to my soul.
There are words that dance in my blood. Words written by strangers that speak to the very heart of me. Words that have become part of who I am.
And that is an amazing thing.
I was overwhelmed by the knowledge that there were people out there in the world who have no idea how they shaped me as a person, how they saved my life, how they changed how I thought and how they made me a better person.
And maybe, just maybe, there is someone out there who has had their life changed by something I have written. There might not be, but there might be.
I’ve been re-reading Discworld from the start. I have the last book but I haven’t read it yet. It’s been sitting on my dresser for a long time. And honestly, I just don’t think I’m ready yet. Because if I read it then I have to admit that it’s over. And I’m just not ready for that yet. It had been a part of my life for over twenty five years – longer even – the Colour of Magic was published the year after I was born. So pretty much all my life there has been this other, wonderful, strange, funny, heartbreaking world that has existed in parallel. I’m not ready to let go of a series, of a writer who changed me in so many ways. A writer I never met who made me a better person, who made me think and feel and love and fight. A writer who taught me that I didn’t need to conform, that I didn’t need to care what other people thought, that I didn’t need to be someone I wasn’t. That personal wasn’t the same as important, that infinity is duck egg blue, that I should be wary of any item that weighs less than it’s operational manual, that I should always look under my bed in case there’s a man there (you never know your luck) and most importantly :
Words in the heart cannot be taken.
Terry Pratchett, Feet of Clay, spoken by Dorfl
And so, go forth, find your own words, those words that will imprint on your heart and soul never to be erased.
they cannot be taken.