While his comments about the thanklessness of his efforts in the field of Sherlock might inspire derision in some mediocre minds, anyone who's put their entire heart and soul into this hobby knows those moments well. If you look back upon the history of Sherlockian fandom, you'll see some Herculean efforts of monk-like devotion, literal decades worth of hours, even subtracting eating, sleeping, and day jobs, spent in lonely tasks of research, collection, and production. And none of those folks ever truly got the rewards they deserved . . . a nod here, a certificate there, when their efforts really rated bronze busts and luxurious feasting. (Along with a few groupies of the preferred gender and all that comes with that.)
But as much as some airy, snifter sorts would like to call us "afficionados," I've always preferred the term "fans." Why? Because "fan" is short for "fanatic," and the best of our past-time have always been that. Not, sitting back with a cigar and a brandy being all "afficionado-y" . . . no, the best of us are full-on crazed fanatics, giving their all to the love of a legend.
The thing is, few Sherlockians are truly crazy. We have those lucid moments when we look around and go, "What the Hell have I been doing all this time? I could have been a [Insert your version of a profession of accomplishment here.]" You can hit a real dark night of the soul, and as much as we love our Sherlockian camaraderie, it can be a lonely night as well.
When your entire crowd is busy looking at the stage where the star stands, they sometimes forget to look down the aisle to see if the people there are okay. Sherlock Holmes is our star, our focus, our celebrated one, and in this Cumberbatch-loving era, we've even got a rock star taking up the warm-up stage for the main event. (And often threatening to upstage him.) For a novelist, a podcaster, an event-coordinator or a video producer to shine a light for any length of time in today's blazing glare of Sherlock radiance . . . not so easy. The next thing is always here.
You can't do Sherlockian because it's a stepping stone to some outside-the-fandom success. You can't do Sherlockian because you hope to be recognized by the heirs to some old institution. In the wee dark hours of the lonely February Sherlockian night, you have to reach down deep and find the reason you do it just for you. And how you're going to make your own fun on your next foray into the land of Holmes. Or maybe . . . just maybe . . . that you actually are a bit mad, and that madness centers around Sherlock Holmes.
As the great Sherlockian tidal wave of the last decade starts to ebb a bit, we're going to see a lot of Sherlockian talent facing their own dark night of the soul, taking their own hiatuses. Some will one day come back, some won't. But that didn't mean they weren't appreciated while they were here.
Like many another Sherlockian, I have been looking at this thing and that thing, gazing at my own Sherlock-shaped navel, and doing many other things besides taking time to fully appreciate and comment on some of the massive efforts being made out there in the name of Sherlock Holmes. That doesn't mean I won't be sad when I see a candle start to flicker, like No Place Like Holmes.
And hope those behind such marvelous efforts, like Ross, find their fun again, wherever they wind up. Even if it's back here, in the land of unrequited Sherlock lovers.