Monday, October 3, 2016

The Seven Deadly Feels of Sherlockiana.

One of the worthwhile Sherlockians I know posted his to-do list on social media tonight, and I really had to sigh in . . . well, a different sort of emotion that I know other Sherlockians have as well now and then. But how to define it? I actually had to start working my way through the list.

Was it envy?

I mean, it's easy to be envious of so many Sherlockians' accomplishments. We are an accomplished bunch. Any talent you'd care to name, from painting to singing to internet-personality-building, someone out there in Sherlock Holmes fandom is good at it. And there has always been the collecting side of it, where we admire the rarities and specialized little groups of things Sherlockians put together. A bit of pleasant jealousy is a common Sherlockian emotion.

But nobody envies a to-do list. That's work.

Was it inadequacy?

While it might not be your particular problem, I know many a Sherlockian who every now and then would wonder if they were measuring up in the hobby. Not because of those few trolls who try to define a "real Sherlockian" or a "true fan." But just because there are so many impressive Holmes fans out there. I have suspicions that the B.S.I. shilling evolved as a mechanism so a Sherlockian who needed it badly enough could finally have an excuse to quit wondering if they were living up to their Sherlockian potential. A bar was needed to get over, and the shilling was that bar.

Was it curiosity?

We know so much these days. And when we come across something we don't know, and can't know, nor find with a Google search, it vexes us. And it should! We're Sherlockians, we're all about the mystery. But creators need time and space and privacy to create, as the makers of BBC Sherlock are so painfully aware. A creator's to-do list is just the sort of morsel that leaves one's curiosity hungry for more. I suppose I could write fanfic about my friend's activities to fill that void, as it's a great method for surviving a hiatus, but that might get a bit weird . . . .

Was it loneliness?

I would suspect most of us have had that moment where one feels alone in a crowd. At a big party, an event like a wedding, or even just being barraged by all the "voices" of the internet. Sherlock Holmes was an outsider, a loner, and has been known to attract same. The entire joy of the Holmes-Watson relationship is that finding of a true friend to stand beside you through both quiet moments and rampaging turbulence in your life. Seeing all the contacts other Sherlockians make out there, as reflected in even as simple a thing as a to-do list can trigger a stray moment of isolation.

Was it obsession?

With a serious love of Sherlock Holmes comes a drive to do all things Sherlock. Gather a group. Write a novel. Record a podcast. Draw a cartoon. Make one of Mrs. Hudson's hypothetical recipes. Play the violin. Document every instance of X in the Canon. Make a short video. Visit Reichenbach Falls. Cosplay. Get the autographs of every living member of the Norwegian Explorers of Minnesota. Make a clay bust of Napoleon with a pearl in it. Learn fencing. Wear a disguise. Read a Morley novel. Document all animal Sherlocks in cartoon or comic form. Role play online. Obsess over every possible tribute one can make to the Great Idol of Baker Street.  Seeing another Sherlockian's to-do list feeds the obsession . . . and that only makes the obsession open its mouth wider for a bigger bite.

Was it sadness?

Benedict Cumberbatch said "It might be the end of an era. It feels like the end of an era, to be honest," in the British GQ magazine. Sure that has nothing to do with to-do lists, but it certainly does put a pall in the air. If the thought of BBC Sherlock seeing its final season doesn't make you the least bit sad, well, you're probably one of those folks who's proud of their out-of-the-main tastes, so you just go on being proud while the rest of us are sad.

Was it regret?

Regret at starting this blog with the title "The Seven Deadly Feels of Sherlockiana" and then having to come up with seven whole downer experiences just to fill out a blog post? Well, that didn't really come along until after Feel #3, so it's ruled out as a suspect for not being at the crime scene. And the words, "at the crime scene" make me flash back to my recent binge-watch of Luke Cage on Netflix, which brings up guilt for spending thirteen hours on a hero besides Sherlock Holmes . . . only I've used regret as the seventh Feel, so I now can't use guilt.

Being a non-sociopathic Sherlockian can sure put you through an emotional workout some days. Our hobby is, and should be, a place of strong feelings for us, which is naturally going to have a dark side as well as a light one. The joy that Sherlockiana brings surely must outshine every one of the negative factors above (and probably a few more) or none of us would be here.

Every one of those Seven Deadly Feels of Sherlockiana has a counterpart . . . a Life-giving Feel of Sherlockiana. Empathy, pride, curiosity (its own light side), camaraderie, laughter, joy, and satisfaction. And Sherlockians tend to write about those a whole lot more than the other bunch, because they are, truly, why we are here. We can't forget the others exist, though, innoculating ourselves and our friends against them as often as possible with the lighter balance of the Sherlockian "Force."

And once one remembers all of those latter things, whatever that initial feeling was that sparked this little entry in the blog diary seems kind of inconsequential to me, so I guess that's the lesson here.

Always remember the good stuff. Even when some joker writing a blog decides to tour the bad.


  1. "Document all animal Sherlocks in cartoon or comic form." Obssesion or insanity?

    "I actually had to start working my way through the list." Link to list? Curious.