The one where I talk about fallen heroes.

Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch in “To Kill a Mockingbird” CreditUniversal Studios

When the news broke about Bill Cosby drugging women, I kept trying to ignore what I was hearing. If it came on the television news I wouldn't watch it. If I came across a news article online, I wouldn't read it. How could it possibly be true? Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable would never do such a thing! Well, maybe Dr. Huxtable wouldn't, but apparently Mr. Cosby would.

By trying to ignore it, I was simply trying to make it go away. Hear no evil, see no evil. I'll just burry my head in the sand and make it all disappear. But ignoring the facts didn't make it any less true.

Then yesterday, amongst all of the press coverage of Haper Lee's new novel releasing tomorrow I learned that yet another hero had fallen off his pedestal. If you haven't heard or have no idea what I am talking about, you can read more about it here. In a nutshell, in Go Set a Watchman Atticus Finch has become a racist. This is incredibly unsettling for LOTS of reasons, but mostly because Atticus is one of the greatest fictional heroes of all time.

I pre-ordered my copy of Lee's new book months ago. I wanted to be able to start reading it the day it was released. This was going to be history in the making and I was choosing be an active part of it. I even considered re-reading To Kill a Mockingbird out of excitement for the new novel, but considering my huge to-read pile staring me in the face thought better of it.

I've seen the social media comments about the Atticus revelation. Shock. Disappointment. Dismay. Even anger. Many are now refusing to read the new novel. They don't want to tarnish the original Atticus. They want to put their heads in the sand. Read no evil, see no evil. But refusing to read it isn't going to change what's been written. It's already out there. Harper Lee wrote the words and created the character and our choosing to not reading the book will do nothing to change the facts.

And sometimes the facts can hurt. Atticus is a racist. Mr. Cosby is a rapist. It pained me just to type those two sentences. I don't want to believe any of it. They are supposed to be heroes. Luckily, Atticus is only a work of fiction. For all of those women he rapped, Mr. Cosby, unfortunately, is not.

I will read the book when it arrives in my mailbox tomorrow. I'm sure it will be upsetting at times but in the end, it's just a novel. I'm not reading about a real person. I might have loved the character and what he stood for in Mockingbird, but he's still only a character in a book (all be it one of the the greatest and most beloved fictional characters ever.)

A few year ago I bought the complete series of "The Cosby Show." I loved that show and, honestly, will continue to love that show because, like the novel, is only a work of fiction. I won't deny that the shows will probably be hard to watch. So much of the man and the character are blended together. I might not be able to get through even one episode without Cosby's despicable acts clouding my enjoyment. And that really, REALLY pisses me off.

All I know is this: neither of these men are REAL heroes. I have met real heroes. Heroes that serve our country in the most selfless ways. Heroes that leaves their families for months and months at a time, putting themselves in harms way in the most dangerous parts of the world.

These individuals are REAL heroes. The heroes that deserve our time, our attention, our tweets, our blog posts.

The one where I talk about why I would buy this book just for the cover.

I almost bought this book just for the cover. Wouldn't you?

I have a serious book buying problem. It's bad. You know how most people make new year's resolutions about losing weight or forgiving someone or stopping smoking? Well, every new year I make a silent promise to myself:
I will not buy any new books until I read all of the books I already own.
And then I walk into an indie bookstore or I get on to buy beef jerky (seriously) and end up noticing new book that looks really good is silently screaming "read me!" and I immediately think to myself, "One book couldn't hurt."

Like any good junky, I need my fix. One books turns into twenty and before long my beside tables (yes, plural) where I keep all of my "to-read" books start to look like this:

It's really a table, a bench, and a stool holding the to-reads. Clearly this isn't enough space because you can see the stack that I have sitting on the floor and behind the dual picture frame of my boys hides another stack of books. This picture really doesn't do the whole thing justice because there are books, not just in my bedroom. I've tried to get rid of some. I sent a box of paperbacks to a dear friend who I knew would read and love and appreciate each one. I use some to decorate with, place lamps on top of, that sort of thing. Books are a part of my home and always will be...because I can't stop buying them.

I remember seeing my friend Kelly's beautiful home for the first time. It was beautiful for a lot of reasons, but mostly because it was filled with books. So many that she had to build built-in bookshelves in almost every room to accommodate them all. My favorites were some floor to ceiling bookshelves in her kitchen with her round kitchen table right next to it. You could eat your cereal next to your favorite authors. I loved everything about it. It was like living in a beautiful bookstore.

Nothing makes me happier than a bookstore. I've tried to go digital. I have the kindle app on my ipad and I've read a few books on it, but when it comes down to it I just like real books better. I like the whole experience. Especially the book buying experience. I love going on vacation and looking to see if there is an indie bookstore anywhere nearby. If I had a secret superpower it would be to save all of the indie bookstore single handedly so that no more bookstore would ever have to die.

Yesterday, Derek and I spent the day down in L.A. (which we rarely do even though he works down in L.A. and we live in a nearby suburb.) He asked me where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do. I thought of several things. We hadn't been to The Getty in a while and I've yet to visit MOCA, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Or we could have lunch down near the beach. All good options. Instead, I chose to go to Brentwood Country Mart because they have an indie bookstore, diesel, that I've never been to. Forget the fact that I had just been to our favorite indie bookstore and bought two new books that I didn't need. And what do you think happened after I arrived at diesel? I bought two MORE books. Because that is what I do.

The funny part of the story is, I told Derek before we went that I wanted to refrain from buying any more books. I was just going to look, I told him. He laughed at me and said, "Babe, for you only going to look at books is like saying that you're only going to look at a new puppy. You just can't do it."

He knows me so well. I also have a dog buying problem.

"One more dog couldn't hurt."

Creativity, Pod Casts, and Fears

I am what you call a person with good intensions and no follow through.  I said that I wanted to start writing again. I said that it was important to me and that I would make time for it in my daily routine. But I haven't. I've had lots of thoughts and ideas that I want to write about:
  • Why do so many people open their mouths when taking a selfie? Do we look better with our mouths open? Does it make us look younger? Because if that's the case, then I'm going to start doing it. All the time.
  • My mother recently informed me that I was almost named Wendy. After 42 years, this revelation was unsettling but I really can't tell you why.
  • I'm a dog person. At times I've been known to treat my dogs better than my family. My dogs are important to me. Naming my children was easier than naming my dog.
I was listening to a pod cast recently. I have discovered pod casts. They are perfect to listen to when you're getting ready in the morning or scrubbing bathrooms or fighting traffic on the 405. One of the pod casts I've discovered and really enjoy is The Rob Cast with Rob Bell. It was Rob Bell and author Elizabeth Gilbert (of Eat, Pray, Love fame) discussing Gilbert's new book coming out in the fall, Big Magic. Big Magic is all about allowing creativity to do it's thing and not letting our fears get in the way. Obviously I need to read it.

During the pod cast Gilbert shared a story of a promise that she made to her younger self before she became, well, Elizabeth Gilbert as we know her. She promised herself--and I'm paraphrasing here--that she would not put any pressure on her creativity. She wouldn't put pressure on her creativity to pay her bills, or fulfill her wildest dreams. She would just be creative because it was necessary for her to be fully herself. A necessity of life. A life that would be lacking without creating.

Fear is a bitch. I hate it. It gets in your head and hangs out. It creates a constant loop of negatives--no, you can't, you shouldn't, you're not good enough. Fear has been known to keep me from many a thing. Some legitimate that I'm grateful for. Fear has saved me from lots of bad choices I'm fairly certain. However, fear has also kept me from being my best self and that's not okay.

As I'm listening to Gilbert talk, I was somewhat liberated. I realized that there was no reason for me to be fearful when it came to my writing. Gilbert didn't allow fear to keep her from creating and in doing so, her writing took her to a place of greatness. I haven't been able to get this out of my head. What if? What if nothing ever comes of my writing EXCEPT for making me happy to have created it? How is that a bad thing? It's not. If my writing does nothing more than make me happy for having created it, that's all that really matters.

Is my writing going to explode into greatness one day? Well, that all depend on your definition of greatness. Having even one person read your work and say, "I loved it!" is pretty damn great. Being on the best-sellers list would be--I'm not gonna lie--pretty great too. Greatness, like a lot of things in life, is all relative.

Fear be damned, my quest for allowing room for creativity in my life will continue. For allowing creativity to be whatever it is meant to be. I mean, who doesn't like a good blog about the fascination with open-mouthed selfies?