There's an obvious side to Sherlockiana . . . that we tend to be readers.
The basic bar to clear in considering one's self truly knowledgeable about Sherlock Holmes is simple: the reading of four novels and fifty-six short stories. Not a high bar, but it does require a certain basic level of commitment that separates the readers from the non-readers. Not every Sherlockian is a reader, to be sure, and there are those who are a benefit to our community without having finished reading The Complete Sherlock Holmes, but by and large . . . readers.
And when gets far enough into taking in the words, the words tend to come out of you as well.
Today, November 1, Nanowrimo begins.
That's short for "National Novel Writing Month," if you haven't encountered the phrase before. Nanowrimo is a personal challenge, a literary mountain to climb with the simple goal of putting down 50,000 words before November is out. You don't even have to sign up at the official site, but like Weight Watchers and dieting, it's just a tool to help you commit and track your progress.
More is being written about Sherlock Holmes today than at any point in our favorite detective's nearly one hundred and thirty year existence. And during this November, even more will be written about him as Sherlockian writers take to their keyboards along with the rest of the Nanowrimo marathoners. Not all of it will see publication, and not all of it will get finished, but the mere fact that it's happening and Sherlock is a part of it adds to our world.
Sherlockiana has never been just a culture of readers. We're a culture of writers, too.
And have always been, from Knox to Morley to Stout to Klinger to Faye. Even this silly blog, as much as my occasional critic considers it to be solely about ego, is really just about putting out some portion of the words I've taken in during my life. Even if nobody ever read this, I'd still write it. Diaries have existed through time for a reason . . . writing helps us order our thoughts.
So with Nanowrimo beginning today, it's a good time to think about writing. About those brave soles who are taking up the verbal marathon. About those who are hard at work in other areas of Sherlockian verbiage. And about your own abilities in that area, and what you're capable of.
Writing is, even in the electronic age of video and gaming, still one of the coolest things out there. So much of the rest of it depends upon writers.
Thanks and congratulations to all of you taking up the keyboard, for whatever reason today. And good luck to all you novelists. Even if you're just a few sentences in, your goals make that word "novelist" applies to you now, as long as you're writing that novel-yet-to-be.