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Sir Terry in upcoming program on assisted suicide

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Apr. 19th, 2011 | 10:37 am
posted by: lilactoventoux in discworld

I came across this via Twitter: Sir Terry Pratchett to probe assisted suicide for BBC.

Is anyone else having trouble reading/viewing these things? I don't mean technical trouble, I mean emotionally. I'm finding it incredibly difficult to accept that he is in a position to be having to explore this (particularly the bit on the ABC's 7:30 Report where he said that he would probably have to take this option while he is still compos mentis enough to communicate his wishes, i.e. before he's actually to the point where he would want to go).

I fully support what he is trying to do, but it hurts immensely that it's him having to do it, if you see what I mean. I can't imagine what it must be like for his nearest and dearest. 
 
Edited to add the link to the official BBC press release, here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2011/04_april/15/pratchett.shtml
Thanks to molokov_au for the info!

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Comments {47}

Sera

(no subject)

from: seratonation
date: Apr. 19th, 2011 08:48 am (UTC)
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he talked about this a little when i went to see him and it made me extremely uncomfortable.

though at the time he talked about 'assisted death' as opposed to suicide which is even more unsettling.

im not gonna click the link, just because the whole thing gets me upset. it's not something i want to explore to be honest :(

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lilactoventoux

(no subject)

from: lilactoventoux
date: Apr. 19th, 2011 09:04 am (UTC)
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I haven't listened to/read a few things for the same reason. It's hugely confronting.

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Aallieaah

(no subject)

from: aallinyte
date: Apr. 19th, 2011 08:51 am (UTC)
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It's sad, but to me it makes sense and I comnpletely support it. I watched my grandpa deteriorate and die trapped in a body that he couldnt do anything in. I watched him loose the ability to walk, to speak and to remember his family. I watched him do that for over a decade. I remember that when he finally passed away it was almost a relief because I knew he wasn't trapped in his body anymore.
I'm sorry to go on about this, and now I'm stupidly crying.

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lilactoventoux

(no subject)

from: lilactoventoux
date: Apr. 19th, 2011 09:03 am (UTC)
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You don't need to be sorry, I know what you mean because it was the same for us with our Grandpa. It was terrible to watch a once independent, lively, fit man be reduced to essentially being an adult-sized baby, unable to care for himself or communicate. I wouldn't wish that fate on anyone. :(

More power to the researchers, I hope they find a cure or at least a good treatment soon, for this terrible disease.

*hugs* to you. It's not stupid to cry about this at all.

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constantly attacked by killer plot bunnies

(no subject)

from: sirona_gs
date: Apr. 19th, 2011 09:50 am (UTC)
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Yes. I get really emotional when he talks about that, too, but I understand why he does it, or why he'd want it. I know the day is coming when we're going to have to say goodbye to him, but knowing and accepting are two different things, I guess. My heart goes out to his family. This can't be easy for them, either.

It's gotten to the point that I can't read those articles, or watch those programmes. It's just self-preservation -- I end up bawling my eyes out. Sigh. He has to do what feels right to him, though, in the end.

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lilactoventoux

(no subject)

from: lilactoventoux
date: Apr. 19th, 2011 11:23 am (UTC)
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I know the day is coming when we're going to have to say goodbye to him, but knowing and accepting are two different things, I guess.

This is it, exactly. I feel for his family and friends.

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madfilkentist

(no subject)

from: madfilkentist
date: Apr. 19th, 2011 09:54 am (UTC)
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For me the big shock was the initial announcement that he had Alzheimer's. Personally I'm far more deeply disturbed by stories from friends whose parents or other relatives are gradually turned by the disease into walking shells than by his discussion of an escape from that fate. But certainly once you know what he's talking about, there's no reason you have to keep exposing yourself to it if it causes you pain.

The important thing is for people who can reasonably afford it to support Alzheimer's research so that in the future people can avoid having to make this choice.

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lilactoventoux

(no subject)

from: lilactoventoux
date: Apr. 19th, 2011 11:06 am (UTC)
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You won't get any argument from me there! One of the things that he said in his interview on the 7:30 Report (which the interviewer didn't pick up and I *wish* she had) was that much of the funding goes on finding out what causes Alzheimer's/dementia, and on diagnosis, with the implication (he didn't come right out and say it) that not enough is being spent on research into treatments. I'd really like to ask him if that's what he intended to say.

I think my reaction to his campaigning for assisted death is mixed up with my reaction to his Alzheimer's diagnosis. I saw how it took my grandfather, and I wouldn't want him to go through that too (or anyone else for that matter). It's a bittersweet thing to wish for him to be successful in his campaign, when it also means he might go before 'his time'.

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madfilkentist

(no subject)

from: madfilkentist
date: Apr. 19th, 2011 01:23 pm (UTC)
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At this point research points to better chances of prevention than of treating cases after they're diagnosed. I didn't catch the item to which you're referring, so I don't know what he might have meant, but I'm sure he's aware of the situation and at the same time wishes something could be done for him before it's too late.

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lilactoventoux

(no subject)

from: lilactoventoux
date: Apr. 19th, 2011 01:58 pm (UTC)
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Oh that's interesting, I somehow missed that in my reading. Thank you for the clarification. I can understand why that would be a primary focus too though - the projected figures for dementia in the coming decades are really scary.



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selenityshiroi

(no subject)

from: selenityshiroi
date: Apr. 19th, 2011 10:01 am (UTC)
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If you can somehow get a hold of it, I highly recommend you watch the 2010 Richard Dimbleby Lecture that Sir Terry wrote on Assisted Death.

The lecture was aired on BBC Two and it was incredibly moving and heartwrenching.

The lecture was read by Tony Robinson (because Pterry has problems with reading, now, and just hearing the explaination behind that broke my heart) and he was incredible at portraying the emotion that Pterry wanted to get across.

I think this lecture was the start of the BBC's interest in the subject matter and I'm not surprised in the slightest that they've teamed up to probe this.

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Wiping out on the psuedointellectual bunny slope

(no subject)

from: caffeine_fairy
date: Apr. 19th, 2011 10:23 am (UTC)
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I believe this is the one to which you refer

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qQgWCQESgo

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selenityshiroi

(no subject)

from: selenityshiroi
date: Apr. 19th, 2011 01:52 pm (UTC)
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Exactly that one, thank you. I watched it on iPlayer just after it first aired and I wasn't sure if it was available online.

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lilactoventoux

(no subject)

from: lilactoventoux
date: Apr. 19th, 2011 10:58 am (UTC)
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Thank you for this! I recorded it and still have it somewhere. If I remember correctly, I ended up reading the transcript instead because I didn't feel up to watching it at the time. I will though. I think it's important (for me, personally, not necessarily anyone else) not to shy away from it.

I think Pterry also talked about his difficulties with reading in the documentary that he did some time ago, as well. I found that quite heartrending.

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hearts and wrists intact

butting in

from: wyvernstars
date: Apr. 19th, 2011 12:38 pm (UTC)
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Do you have a link to the transcript, by any chance? (I tried watching, but I just. Could not. Sir Terry. It's great what he's doing, but. Pterry.)

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lilactoventoux

Re: butting in

from: lilactoventoux
date: Apr. 19th, 2011 02:12 pm (UTC)
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Here you go:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/feb/02/terry-pratchett-assisted-suicide-tribunal

It says it's an 'edited extract', but I'm not sure what that means in terms of what they've edited out. I'm sure the most important parts are present though.

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hearts and wrists intact

Re: butting in

from: wyvernstars
date: Apr. 19th, 2011 03:04 pm (UTC)
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Thank you very muchly.

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lilactoventoux

Re: butting in

from: lilactoventoux
date: Apr. 19th, 2011 03:15 pm (UTC)
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No worries. :)

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Wiping out on the psuedointellectual bunny slope

Re: butting in

from: caffeine_fairy
date: Apr. 19th, 2011 10:23 pm (UTC)
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Having just read it, it is a very edited extract. I'd say about a half to two thirds of the lecture is actually there, and it misses some of the most contraversial bits.

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Niamh Sage

Re: butting in

from: niamh_sage
date: Apr. 20th, 2011 08:59 am (UTC)
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Wow, I had no idea. I wonder if there's a full transcript somewhere? I couldn't immediately find one.

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hotclaws

(no subject)

from: hotclaws
date: Apr. 19th, 2011 10:39 am (UTC)
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I think it's brave and clever.He has so many fans that it is spreading the word like nothing else.I don't think we are anywhere close to losing him but he is making preparations well before time.

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lilactoventoux

(no subject)

from: lilactoventoux
date: Apr. 19th, 2011 10:59 am (UTC)
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I think it's great that he's getting the issues around assisted death discussed in the public forum. I really hope it gets the results that he's aiming for.

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Jeni Renn

(no subject)

from: microwave_jenny
date: Apr. 19th, 2011 11:07 am (UTC)
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Seriously? Most of all what I feel about this is pride in him for his campaign and awe and respect for him that he's willing to stick his neck out. Also I don't think it takes anything away from his genius as a writer, doesn't matter if I agree with his views on assisted death. Which I probably do, but then I'm not sure of anything except that it ought to be a legal option or at least not "criminalized".

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lilactoventoux

(no subject)

from: lilactoventoux
date: Apr. 19th, 2011 11:28 am (UTC)
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Yes, I think it's amazing of him to be doing this, particularly considering his personal context (i.e. actually being in the situation where he hopes to benefit himself from a change in the laws). I think that's pretty courageous.

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Jeni Renn

(no subject)

from: microwave_jenny
date: Apr. 19th, 2011 11:36 am (UTC)
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It's also ironic, isn't it, that his PCA and his campaigns for Alzheimer's Disease research and for the right to assisted death seem to be making him even more alive, if you know what I mean. When I listen to him on radio and telly and read interviews he sounds sharper than ever. Does that make sense?

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lilactoventoux

(no subject)

from: lilactoventoux
date: Apr. 19th, 2011 12:05 pm (UTC)
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Yes it does. He comes across as very determined, almost non-negotiably so (to use an entirely out of context term). I find it inspiring, too.

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Jeni Renn

(no subject)

from: microwave_jenny
date: Apr. 19th, 2011 12:13 pm (UTC)
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I think "takes no prisoners and suffers no fools" covers it too. ;-)

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lilactoventoux

(no subject)

from: lilactoventoux
date: Apr. 19th, 2011 01:59 pm (UTC)
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Hehe yes, and very well. :D

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Ahzuri

(no subject)

from: ahzuri
date: Apr. 19th, 2011 01:35 pm (UTC)
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I think its more shocking than anything, I mean death isn't exactly something people normally talk about but especially assisted death but I mean I can see why people would want it. Watching someone with Alzheimer or Dementia deteriorate is not something I'd wish on anyone. My husband tells me stories about his grandmother and how she thought her husband was just the nice man who took care of her and how she thought that her husband had left her many years ago. She also thought that my husbands father was the child who had died in a car wreck instead of his brother.

I don't know that I could personally ever have dealt with that and have been thus far lucky to not have to. Its a painful thing to hear about and I imagine even worse to witness that being said I will be incredibly sad when he starts deteriorating and I'm sure since he is campaigning for it he will choose assisted death if he can. I've never really cried when another author has died but the day he does I know I will.

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lilactoventoux

(no subject)

from: lilactoventoux
date: Apr. 21st, 2011 08:51 am (UTC)
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Same here. He's been a really important part of my life for nearly 20 years now. Seems a funny thing to say about someone I've only ever met very briefly in book signing lines, but there you go.

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a_ngua

(no subject)

from: a_ngua
date: Apr. 19th, 2011 02:01 pm (UTC)
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Hm… not “difficult”, rather… sad.
It will be illness that will “take him” before his time…
It’s the very core and point of all this.
(I’ll be sad to see him gone… eventually…but then, I don’t know my own future and if I’m going to outlive him :))
Let’s just hope that his illness won’t “take over” any time soon…

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lilactoventoux

(no subject)

from: lilactoventoux
date: Apr. 21st, 2011 08:52 am (UTC)
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I hope so too. I'm glad to see that he is finding ways to keep writing, in any case. It seems to be something important to his quality of life.

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marence, an eternal student

(no subject)

from: marence
date: Apr. 19th, 2011 03:32 pm (UTC)
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My mother had Alzheimer's. Whichever variant, it's an ugly thing to watch, and the part that would break my heart a bit more each time wasn't that she forgot me completely while depending more and more on my daughter, who, oddly enough, was identifiable up to the end as her 'only granddaughter', but those few lucid moments, when the intelligent woman peaked out of the crazily fogged old eyes and told me she knew she was going crazy but couldn't stop. Then the moment would pass, and she'd be trying to let my daughter's cat out again. (She hated cats. My daughter moved in as full time caretaker, and shortly after adopted a rescue cat. My mother convinced herself it was a dog named "Poochie" who needed to be let out regularly. We'd also find bologna sandwiches in the cat's bowl, because my mother said Poochie was too thin and needed a snack.)

Anyway, the point is, I'm right on board with Sir Pterry's wishes. Why in all the hells can't a person legally decide when life is no longer able to be lived? Whether chained to machines or unchained from reason, I personally can't see that as a life worth continuing.

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lilactoventoux

(no subject)

from: lilactoventoux
date: Apr. 21st, 2011 08:53 am (UTC)
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That was an excellent way of putting it.

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erinlin_w

(no subject)

from: erinlin_w
date: Apr. 19th, 2011 03:46 pm (UTC)
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Yes, emotionally I'm having a lot of trouble with this. Can't stand to read the articles. Mostly, I try not to think about it.

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Claire

(no subject)

from: lastingtwilight
date: Apr. 19th, 2011 05:26 pm (UTC)
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I think it's important to remember that he's not definitely going to do it. He just wants the choice to be there if he ever needs it.

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Jeni Renn

(no subject)

from: microwave_jenny
date: Apr. 19th, 2011 09:57 pm (UTC)
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THIS.

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lilactoventoux

(no subject)

from: lilactoventoux
date: Apr. 21st, 2011 08:53 am (UTC)
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Yes, that's true.

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AG

(no subject)

from: auronsgirl
date: Apr. 19th, 2011 07:06 pm (UTC)
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I'm of two minds. On the one hand, I can be the "Edge Witch" who stands at the foot of my dying loved one's bed and assures the nurses that if they make a "mistake" in medicating her that I would not only hold them blameless, but bless them for it, so my Grandma Wilma's suffering could finally end. She died of stomach cancer and mid-stage Alzheimer's and I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

On the other hand, it's Pterry. This man created characters that aren't just figures in a book but friends and loved ones to me. His books give me solace and hope that nothing else can, and I can't really stand by silently at the thought of that going away any time soon.

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lilactoventoux

(no subject)

from: lilactoventoux
date: Apr. 21st, 2011 08:54 am (UTC)
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Yes, this is much the same position I have too.

I like the 'Edge Witch'. There are a lot of them around in medicine, I believe.

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Joy

(no subject)

from: incarnated_joy
date: Apr. 19th, 2011 07:36 pm (UTC)
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It does make me sad and upset that he is having to even contemplate these things. But as someone whose both parents show signs of dementia/wasting away before their time...I'm so glad that he is, in as glad as someone who is heartbroken can be.

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Kira Lucien

(no subject)

from: kira_snugz
date: Apr. 19th, 2011 08:51 pm (UTC)
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it is so hard to think about. it makes me cry. i hate that he is faced with the loss of himself, and i find it terrifying and can not imagine how i would feel if it were happening to me. i support him fully, it is his choice, but i can not ever reconcile myself to the thought of it.

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Molokov

(no subject)

from: molokov_au
date: Apr. 19th, 2011 10:36 pm (UTC)
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Official press release:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2011/04_april/15/pratchett.shtml

I have no problems with Terry talking about this (although my personal feelings on the issue are something I still haven't worked out), but during his recent trip to Australia, it seemed that the only questions journalists asked him were about a) the knighthood, b) Alzheimer's and c) Assisted Dying.
Hardly any of them asked any questions about the books or his writing process. I started to get sick of the same questions (and hence the same answers, which I don't blame Terry for using)

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lilactoventoux

(no subject)

from: lilactoventoux
date: Apr. 21st, 2011 09:06 am (UTC)
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Thanks for the link! I've edited my post to add it.

I suspect that Alzheimer's and assisted dying are going to be at the top of the interviewing list from now on. That's maybe not such a bad thing for Terry since he seems to be trying to stimulate a debate that will lead to some changes, but yes, it's a bit of a shame that his writing gets shoved onto the backburner, particularly since this is why we all know him.

I wonder also if people are kind of dodging questions about that because of the thought that he will (sooner or later) probably not be able to write any more, and that seems like too painful a topic.

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(Deleted comment)

lilactoventoux

(no subject)

from: lilactoventoux
date: Apr. 21st, 2011 08:56 am (UTC)
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Beautifully put, especially the part about having the power of choice about Death. When you think about it, I wonder why we humans put so much stock in Death coming unexpectedly.

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ajat

(no subject)

from: ajat
date: Apr. 20th, 2011 04:15 am (UTC)
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He's so sensible and blunt, it can hurt. But I get him totally. I'd have the same approach were I in his place.

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lilactoventoux

(no subject)

from: lilactoventoux
date: Apr. 21st, 2011 09:00 am (UTC)
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The more I think about it, the more I think I would too.

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