My favorite writer died last year in September. But I found out today.
I can’t remember being sad in September when it happened.
I was a bit stunned today, it’s hard for me to imagine a world without Terry Goodkind.
I woke up early and was thinking of treating myself to a new book to read just for fun, something I don’t do often.
Since I’ve been 16 or so, 19 years… I’ve been reading his books, and they were my favorite.
I didn’t say that often because they are fiction and fantasy, I think a lot of people judge readers of fiction, that we are people who can’t handle reality, who escape into books that are similar to other books, just to escape having social skills and living “a real life”… And even when I do read fiction, I’m usually reading scifi, because there seems to be more.
I’ve always enjoyed scifi and fantasy, I also enjoy fiction and non-fiction (isn’t non-fiction just God’s fiction? anyways?), I also enjoy being alive and interacting with the world as well as reading.
Sometimes life is too painful to enjoy, it can be tolerated, but it stops being enjoyable. I guess books at times are my painkillers, because most of my pain is mental.
But there is something magical about books, the same way there is about gardens, or antiques, or paintings, or wine, or anything else.
Just the smell of books gives me hope life might be worth living.
Just a new book gives me hope, I may still become a better person, or find my long elusive purpose for being born and place in the world.
“To exist in this vast universe for a speck of time is the great gift of life. It is our only life. The universe will go on, indifferent to our brief existence, but while we are here, we touch not just part of that vastness, but also the lives around us. Life is the gift each of us has been given. Each life is our own and no one else’s. It is precious beyond all counting. It is the greatest value we can have. Cherish it for what it truly is . . . Your life is yours alone. Rise up and live it.”– Terry Goodkind
Terry had a kindness that came through in his books, and an anger at life wasted. I never met him. I don’t know if I would have enjoyed meeting him or not. Without meeting him, he was a hero to me, if I had met him, he might have been a man.
When Stephen Hawking died a few years ago, I was sad, pretty sad, because he had always uplifted me. Someone struggling harder, but doing more, and with a smile and a joke, and time to encourage others. I guess that’s an English upside to offset the downside that if you don’t keep an eye on them they may colonize your homeland…
I felt silly with Stephen to grieve someone I didn’t know, though people do it, I still felt silly. But perhaps that is what was meant for humanity before it got too large.
In Canada I saw hikers were lost and died, the country lowered the flag for them, they didn’t have to be government officials, they didn’t have to be celebrities, they were Canadians, they were people there and that was enough to be valued and to be missed. It touched me forever.
I live in the US, it’s a big country, when I lived in Chicago I walked past homeless people’s frozen bodies downtown in order to get to my work. Before I could think about how I felt about it I absorbed the general vibe, which was a neutral vibe… as many people hated the homeless as were sad, and far more people felt nothing, because the homeless “people” weren’t people in the way they should be…
That’s normal that because you can’t process thousands of people mentally, they stop being people, it’s a normal part of city life. Then is city life even a life at all? If people stop being people to you and you to them?
So, Terry died last year, in the fall, and I wasn’t sad. Today I found out, this year, in the spring. And I was trying to understand why. If he died and I wasn’t sad, why now?
My Mental Theatre: “Death of a Favorite Writer”
(Me Portraying Terry: Terry is now dead.)
I’m still going to miss being able to pick up a new Terry Goodkind book when I have $8 and the freetime to invest in a new book, I think I will always miss that. Seeing what new stuff he was up to was always worth the price of the ticket, though sometimes it was $24… His best and his worst books were still better for me than reading Robert Jordan, or other books in my preferred aisle of the book store.
I’ll still miss Terry, who I never met, but I know he would have wanted me to take actions towards a better world, rather than griping or sulking, that really seems to be who he was. The actions he took were sometimes written ones, sometimes deep thought, sometimes building, racing, regular actions, but he seemed to be a man of quiet but constant action and perhaps a big part of me is a kindred soul to that and the loss of any of us hits home with me.
It’s hard to transition from thinking about his death September 17th, but when someone dies, its a time to think of their life as a whole, see what can be learned or borrowed to help me on my journey… time to salvage the corpse for valuables (metaphorically). I know Terry was a fan of Ayn Rand’s philosophy of objectivism.
When I’m ready I’ll have to take a stoic vacation to objectivismville and see what’s there for me.
Terry Goodkind’s Wizard’s Rules (Used to Be on His Site, Which is Now Gone):
- “People are stupid; given proper motivation, almost anyone will believe almost anything. Because people are stupid, they will believe a lie because they want to believe it’s true, or because they’re afraid it might be true. Peoples’ heads are full of knowledge, facts and beliefs, and most of it is false, yet they think it all true. People are stupid; they can only rarely tell the difference between a lie and the truth, and yet they are confident they can, and so are all the easier to fool.”
- Wizard’s First Rule, page 560
- “The greatest harm can result from the best intentions.”
- Stone of Tears, Chapter 63, page 886
- “Passion rules reason.”
- Blood of the Fold, Chapter 43, page 360
- “There is magic in sincere forgiveness. Magic to heal. In forgiveness you grant, but more so in forgiveness you receive.”
- Temple of the Winds, Chapter 41, page 318
- “Mind what people do, not only what they say, for deeds will betray a lie.”
- Soul of the Fire, Chapter 28, page 205
- “The most important rule there is, the Wizard’s Sixth Rule: the only sovereign you can allow to rule you is reason. The first law of reason is this: what exists, exists, what is, is and from this irreducible bedrock principle, all knowledge is built. It is the foundation from which life is embraced.” — Richard
- Faith of the Fallen, Chapter 41, pages 459-60
- “Life is the future, not the past. The past can teach us, through experience, how to accomplish things in the future, comfort us with cherished memories, and provide the foundation of what has already been accomplished. But only the future holds life. To live in the past is to embrace what is dead. To live life to its fullest, each day must be created anew. As rational, thinking beings, we must use our intellect, not a blind devotion to what has come before, to make rational choices.”
- The Pillars of Creation, Chapter 60, page 549
- “Talga Vassternich. Deserve Victory.”
- Naked Empire, Chapter 61, page 626
- A contradiction cannot exist in reality. Not in part, nor in whole.
- Chainfire, Chapter 48, page 489
- “Willfully turning aside from the truth is treason to one’s self.”
- Phantom, Chapter 12, page 127
- “The rule of all rules. The rule unwritten.” The Unwritten rule. Knowledge is earned not given.
- Confessor, Chapter 65, page 592
- You can destroy those who speak the truth, but you cannot destroy the truth itself.
- The Omen Machine, Chapter 70, page 446
- Life gives dimension to time.
- The Third Kingdom, Chapter 26, page 175.
- “There have always been those who hate, and there always will be.”
- Severed Souls, Chapter 47, page 306
- “In this world, everyone must die. None of us has any choice in that. Our choice is how we wish to live.”
- Warheart, Chapter 52, page 389