The last couple of weeks have been an interesting ride. And an informative one.
You know this hobby we share. It has the best people in it. You can go to an event, talk to people who like to talk about what you like to talk about, and feel like you're part of a greater thing. Bond and connect in ways that don't occur ever day. It's what makes Sherlockiana special, even though there are a legion of other interest groups and hobbyist leagues out there that, rightfully, might make the same claim. These are the places we connect.
Except when we don't.
A Sherlockian life is defined by both sides of that coin -- the brilliant moments when you connect with complete strangers over this common miracle we call Sherlock Holmes, and those moments when folks in that group you thought of as friends and peers divide sharply with you. We glory over the former in our writings and memories, but the latter are always present, and if we intend to stay within the hobby, we have to deal with them, especially if we trend more toward the sensitive empath side than the narcissistic sociopath end of the spectrum.
And most of us have a bit of both, I suspect. It's a tricky business.
For example, my Sherlockian career will forever be defined by the moment I got made a Baker Street Irregular, and what followed. Sherlockians were the coolest people I ever met . . . until I got to New York and met the men-only B.S.I. of the late 1980s. Suddenly, I felt like I wasn't really a part of this hobby I had whole-heartedly joined, and went from a climactic point in my Sherlocking to an isolating, disconnected one. Still not a big fan of either the group's membership policy or NYC, which makes me a baffling enigma to any fans of the January rituals who bother to kindly contemplate the outliers.
When CBS's Elementary came along, I got to be the bastard on the other side of that coin. Oh, how plainly non-Sherlock-y that show was, surely no Sherlockian found such a thing acceptable as a Sherlock Holmes adaptation. I was connecting with a lot of Sherlockians who felt like I did, big-time. But after a few years . . . a few years, yikes! . . . I finally began to sympathize with those . . . to me . . . outliers who actually enjoyed the show. Not that I liked the show, but I came to understand how banging that drum too hard might hurt their ears, whether I was agreed with by a goodly number or not. And we don't really bond over our shared negatives like we do over our shared positives, do we?
These divisive bits come along more with a new, internet-fueled speed these days, but they still can leave a lasting impact. That last season of Sherlock played hob with folks, and only two weeks ago, we came to Holmes and Watson. And it made me laugh. I was excited for 221B Con, as it's another one of those times when we get to share enthusiasms, especially the rarer ones. And within two short weeks, the phrase "I laughed during Holmes and Watson," definitely puts you in that rarer group.
Yet 221B Con panels can be both lovely sharing times, and lightning rods for those folks who just have to air their grievances like they're a Costanza at Festivus. And when you love a movie that got an 8% on Rotten Tomatoes (that notorious 0% was before hardly any reviews were in), you're already weary of folks airing their grievances. And suddenly, the whole idea of being in a large group of Sherlockians feels a bit more disconnecting than connecting.
It's so very easy to stay disconnected. All you have to do is "not do." That's why depression is such a nasty bit of business, its draining power to make you "not do" robs you of the very things that might help you fight it. And while I'm not struggling with that particular beastie at the moment, I am having one of my normal bouts of wrestling with "not do" . . . which can come more frequently with age. Really bad timing with the 221B Con panel sign-up list just coming out this Friday, but I suppose I will fight through it at some point.
And I might go see Holmes and Watson again to lift my spirits. Uh-oh . . . .