As I'm looking forward to spending an evening with fellow blogger and Sherlockian chronologist Historical Sherlock later this week, my thoughts have started wandering down that misty and lonesome road that we call Sherlockian chronology once again.
Back in December, Historical Sherlock proposed a Sherlockian society for those of us who indulge in the vice of trying to put solid dates on Watson's sixty recorded cases, and when you look at his comprehensive list of those who've entered the field in the past hundred years, you can see that there aren't a lot of potential members on the "did a full chronology and released it" side of the coin. As to those who've done a partial chronology, or just written on the dating of one story . . . who knows? But our numbers aren't very strong there either. Working out the dates is something that's only fun for a certain type of mind.
So, if . . . and I say "if" . . . Historical Sherlock and Sherlock Peoria were to use our sit-down later this week to further discuss the forming of such a society, how do you think that would look?
Well, first, in my mind, would be to celebrate that rare list of Sherlockians who have actually published a chronology by making them honorary members. We might have to define what qualifies as a true chronology, as opposed to those useful works that merely collect the dates from the work of others . . . though those folk deserve recognition as well. More than a few clubs have started with a few "zombie members" -- those who aren't really active in the club but are given member designation by the founders at the start. (Since so many Sherlockian chronologists have passed on . . . hopefully not due to the rigors of chronological study . . . the zombie concept came to mind a little too quickly when I tried to imagine gathering all of them at a table.)
The club would definitely need to be open and inclusive to all, of course, as this particular branch of Sherlockiana is so unglamorous that we can't afford to turn anyone away. (Maybe boot them out later if they commit some blasphemy against all chronology . . . except that will surely turn out to be me.) But we would, as with the previous thought, need to celebrate their achievements by giving them something . . . Gold stars? Points? Levels? . . . for each story they have successfully published an argument for the date of, whether it be on-line or in a journal, newsletter, or book.
And at that point, this proposed chronology group seems to need a publication of record.
And that, I think, is where the whole endeavor centers. Gathering for dinners works for social groupings of Sherlockians, but of late we've noticed more Sherlockian groups coming together for a single purpose, like putting out a podcast or putting on a con. And perhaps that's what might give a Sherlockian chronologist group focus. Annual dinners are nice, but it's also good to have something a bit more lasting to show for your efforts, like an annual review of works done in the field.
Not going to show all my cards here, as I have to keep something fresh for our discussions later this week, but you'll definitely be seeing more on this to come.