When Your Hero Lets You Down

July 13, 2018

 

I'd originally planned to post on how to slog through your sequel but decided to save that for next week given circumstances.

 

So what do you do you when your hero lets you down?

I mean literally. A literal hero. A writing mentor, author you revere, adviser you look up to lets you down. Drops the ball. Plagiarizes. Commits a heinous crime. What then? How do you put one foot in front of the other knowing most of the footsteps that came before were aided by your hero? 

 

What then? 

 

My writing community at Taylor was recently shaken up by the sudden retirement of our famous professor of sixty or so published books. A vague statement from the university via phone call had given us an idea that some sort of severe allegations were placed against him.

 

Then came the Twitter post.

 

One of his victims came forward. Mentions of more cases leak through tweets. The University releases an obligatory statement. Alumni and members of your writing community explode on Facebook and through Messenger. Everyone seems to be posting paragraphs, but we're at a loss for words. 

 

And there you have it. Your hero has fallen. 

 

So what now? You feel numb. Everything about this sickens you. You've been popping tums because your stomach problems have grown worse. 

 

The fact your university kept this quiet for decades. The fact you're watching you're hero's life being ripped apart before your very eyes. The fact a conference you went to with your hero involved misconduct with attendees prior to when the event took place. The fact you had many meetings with your hero one-on-one in his office where he never mistreated you as a woman, but the possibility was still there. The fact you'd heard your hero say lots of off-color things in class, but everyone attributed it to your hero being old-fashioned. The fact that prior to these events, you'd dedicated your first published book to him and had included him in the acknowledgments of several others because you would not have come far without him. The fact the other professors in the professional writing department are left to pick up the pieces left by your hero. The fact there are definitive spiritual forces at play and all sides are being spiritually attacked. 

 

The fact is this is a losing battle from all sides. 

 

So what now?

 

Pray

For the victims. For your fallen hero. For everyone. 

 

Seek Justice

And mercy. Don't hear me wrong. I believe in fairness and retribution. Victims have been dealing with justice un-rendered for decades and that is NOT OK. I will be unsettled with this forever if proper action does not take place. 

 

However, I also believe in mercy. After justice is properly rendered (and we have not reached that point yet), I believe we need to remember that we all are fallen heroes ourselves.  

 

Keep Walking

You feel numb. You've lost sleep for two nights straight and don't anticipate getting a healthy amount until you reach the end of the month (at least). 

 

Keep walking anyway. Sleep walking until you can wake. This isn't easy on anyone, and the realizations will hit you in waves. One foot in front of the other until you start to feel.

 

Remember

Remember the victims. But also remember why you looked up to that hero. This isn't to say we should disregard what the hero did. Again, I'm a strong believer in justice. But if we do not remember everything, the good and the bad, we'll turn people into angels or demons. Heroes and Hellhounds, when really, we were only meant to be human ...

 

Never heroes.

 

 

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