The creative force of anger…

The world lost one of its finest writers just under three years ago. Which means I am probably a little early with this post about the creative power of anger, of which he was perhaps one of the finest exponents. I speak of Sir Terry Pratchett, creator of worlds both disc-shaped and otherwise, populated by some of the most fascinating, and on occasion angriest, characters in all of fiction. To get a grasp on Terry’s thoughts about the creativity of anger you only have to read this little excerpt from an early novel in which a truth is undoubtedly told…

 “Granny Weatherwax was often angry. She considered it one of her strong points. Genuine anger was one of the world’s greatest creative forces. But you had to learn how to control it. That didn’t mean you let it trickle away. It meant you dammed it, carefully, let it develop a working head, let it drown whole valleys of the mind and then, just when the whole structure was about to collapse, opened a tiny pipeline at the base and let the iron-hard stream of wrath power the turbines of revenge.”

― Terry Pratchett, Wyrd Sisters

Or indeed this other excerpt from one of the last Novels Pratchett was to write…

 “Anger was a weapon to be honed and treasured and used only at the moment yielding most premium.”

― Terry Pratchett, Raising Steam

There is a wonderful article about Terry and the driving force that anger was for him from the Guardian a couple of years back, as told by his close friend and fellow author Neil Gaiman. In which Gaiman speaks more eloquently than I of his old friend, but then he would, as I sadly only knew Pratchett through his books and never even got to meet the man himself, which is something I regret. If only because I would have loved to share a pint of Badger with him and tell him first hand what an influence he has been on my life, my writing, my sense of humour and my ability to turn anger into something positive. Which is why this little quote is one of my favourites… Not from one of his novels but an interview a few years back towards the end of a life cut short by illness.


I have written about Terry before here,  a post which was, oddly enough, written in anger. I will undoubtedly do so again, but of late I have been re-reading a few of his novels on an evening. For no other reason than an unspoken need to ground myself once more in literary terms. I suspect I am not alone among writers in occasionally needing to reach out to a touchstone. Pratchett has long been mine. I don’t claim to write like him (I wish) or have his talent (I wish harder), but there is something ethereal about a Pratchett novel, any Pratchett novel, that puts my world to rights and makes my fingers itch to write. As well as making me laugh, and smile and filling me with a joy that is hard to explain…

They also remind me it’s good to be angry, that anger is a creative thing, that sometimes you need anger to push you, to bite at you. Its okay to be angry about the world, its what you do with that anger that matters. Me I am going to put pen to paper, I feel the need to write.

This is, I think, in balance, a good thing…


About Mark Hayes

Writer A messy, complicated sort of entity. Quantum Pagan. Occasional weregoth Knows where his spoon is, do you? #author #steampunk
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