The year was 1980.
I was fresh out of college, attending the meetings of two different scion societies in two cities, getting ready to give my first banquet speech on Holmes's methods, and a movie I had been anticipating since its first preview came to theaters: Xanadu.
Now, you'd think a musical fantasy trying to recapture the success of Grease without one of its two main stars would have nothing to do with Sherlock Holmes, and you might be right . . . for you. There are amusements and museums a-plenty in the Canon of Holmes, but actual muses? Olivia Newton-John, roller-skating, singing muses?
Well, yes, actually. There kind of is.
Since this is 2018 and we're not quite so hung up on gender roles these days, I'm going to submit the following thesis: Sherlock Holmes was a muse.
He came into Watson's life, and Watson wrote. He came into Conan Doyle's life, and made all sorts of dreams come true. And he came into my life as well, and sent it spiraling into a creative life that may have never otherwise existed. I'm one hundred percent certain that I am not alone in this, too.
Evidence for Holmes being a muse?
Watson: "A well-played violin is a treat for the gods -- a badly-played one--"
Holmes: "Oh, that's all right." (He laughs merrily.) "I think we may consider the thing as settled."
Sherlock Holmes considers his music a treat for the gods.
(This is the point where Olivia Newton-John's "Magic" starts slowly swelling in the background.)
And we aren't three cases into the shorter stories when Holmes starts talking about talking Watson flying over the city and peeping at all of the wonderful stories that would lie below them.
"And yet I am not convinced of it," Watson argues against the point, like he himself thinks that writing up crime stories is not all that interesting.
And then Sherlock Holmes starts explaining to him how to make good stories from the basic facts of the police report. Take another look at the opening paragraphs of "A Case of Identity" and see if you don't think that's a muse at work on his mortal charge.
I've tried searching fanfic archives for tales that cast Sherlock in the Kira role and John as Sonny, but didn't have much luck, probably due to my own lack of ability with said archives, but I'm thinking a Sherlockian adaptation of Xanadu would not be very hard to do. Picturing Sherlock Holmes on roller skates just does not seem that odd.
Each one of us have lives outside of Sherlock Holmes that intermingle with our Sherlockian thoughts . . . a part of what brings a lot of the magic to this hobby . . . and for me, that 1980 film of questionable quality Xanadu and Sherlock Holmes will be forever entwined due to the period they both came into my life. Zeus only knows how much Sherlockian writing I've done with that soundtrack playing in the background.
Because maybe it was Sherlock, and not Olivia, who has been my muse after all.