Live from a hotel room on James Saunders Boulevard, somewhere between 221B Con and home! (And having dined with a member of the Sir James Saunders Society this weekend, that little Canonical co-inkey-dink is very appropriate.)
The long drive home from 221B Con is always a thoughtful time for me. I replay the weekend before in my head, compare it to Sherlockian weekends I've been to over the last 33 years, see what the new generations of Sherlockians are bringing to the hobby, and see what Sherlockiana can be like now that we've hit convention numbers and folks are actually willing to put cons together. (Not that a couple of past weekend organizers haven't come close -- there have been some great things done in weekend-symposium mode.)
After four years of this, 221B Con just keeps getting better and better. This isn't where you come for scholarly illumination (though there's a lot to educate anyone willing to pay attention), this is where you come to celebrate Sherlock Holmes and just see how everybody else is celebrating Sherlock these days. You celebrate an actor like David Nellist and what his Stamford means to the current iteration of BBC's Sherlock Holmes. You celebrate that Sherlock Holmes can be one sexy guy. (Whether in prose or in person as a burlesque dancer.) You celebrate the diversity of style, tastes, expressions, and joy that exists in our Sherlockian biosphere. And you celebrate what everybody celebrates at every Sherlockian event -- the bonds that connect us.
One thing I noticed this year at 221B Con: familiar faces. That may seem a little silly to say, but when you go to a conventnion that runs between six hundred and a thousand attendees, you don't know who most of the other attendees are, but you start to know their faces. One face might evoke the memory of a late night writing workshop that threw groups of strangers together for a writing exercise. Another face might give a flashback to a panel discussion you particularly liked about Moriarty. And some faces are just folks you may have gotten a quiet smile from in the elevator because you both knew, "Hey, you're a Sherlockian, too!"
But here's the thing about me and 221B Con: I don't think I've ever been ready for it.
The first year? Complete and total surprise. No one, not even the organizers, really knew what was coming.
The second year? Well, I missed it, even though I'd bought a membership. Seriously not ready.
The third year? Just coming off a few months of family crisis mode and it was a last-minute respite.
This, the fourth year? Just had my mind in a lot of places, especially at work, and didn't start thinking about it until the week or two before.
Next year, 221B Con's fifth year, I think it's time to go all out. As in, start the planning for it NOW. Start letting those panel ideas simmer. Get that one great cosplay idea for the costume exhibition night, and start gathering/making pieces for it. Start researching all those corners of fandom that had me scratching my head this year.(The acronyms! Oh, the acronyms!) See if I can . . . well, let's not get too crazy just yet.
But I'm not doing con-drop this year. I'm doing con-anticipation start.
221B Con FIVE already. Can you imagine? And if we get a season four Sherlock earlier in 2017 in the run-up to it?
Oh, it's on. It . . . is . . . on.