Terry Pratchett,

I meant to write to you sooner (isn’t that always the way?), but in my case ‘sooner’ meant about seven years ago, when I was still in high school and depressed. You’re probably lucky you didn’t get letters from Past Me – I doubt he would have been much fun. And yet, he sure as hell wanted to speak to you.

Because it was you that got him through high school. It was your books he read after exams, before exams, during lunchtime as he sat alone in the library and sympathised with Rincewind. (Okay, maybe he wasn’t that bad).

But he was graceless and clumsy, and your books at least let him enjoy his life and the world.

I’m a writer, and though I haven’t produced over fifty books, I appreciate you having done so – because it helps stave away the fear. There’s a rarely spoken fear as writers that, though we might have been creative a thousand times before, there may be a day when the creativity won’t come.

I’m afraid of that day; you don’t seem to be afraid of anything.

You didn’t even seem to be afraid of death. (Or if you are, you have a Vetinari-level poker face.)

I once swore to a girlfriend that I would commit suicide rather than age past fifty. I think I was going through some kind of phase. But hidden behind that bravado is a fear of growing old. You never grew old; you were knighted.

Going Postal, one of my favourite books of yours, gives me some solace in the lateness of this letter. It told me to value the little things, even while achieving the huge things. It taught me not just to run before I could walk, but to “fly before you can crawl”. And how much of life is possible if you have the right suit and a back-up plan? (For a fantasy writer you’re big on making your own magic.)

Most importantly, you taught me that certain lucky people get an angel.

I hope you get yours.

Rafael S. W. is a graduate of creative writing and one of the founding members of Dead Poets’ Fight Club. He has been published in Voiceworks, Going Down Swinging and Dot Dot Dash. He also competes in poetry slams and giant-sized chess games.