Thursday, March 28, 2013

A jack-knife into correspondence.

On my way to this blog, I walked past my wicker basket of unopened correspondence and had a "What happened?" moment.

Not because there were weeks and weeks of mail that hadn't been opened, including a journal or two that I didn't even realize had arrived. That happens these days. It was the flash of memory that accompanied the sight as I remembered scrapping with my fellow lodger, the good Carter, on many a day, just to see who could get out the door and to the mailbox to see what had arrived. I remembered the joy of seeing multiple Sherlockian publications piled inside with letters from my regular and irregular correspondents, some of whom I'd write answers to that very night and post them the very next day.

But at some point we crossed an internet line, and there was no going back.  E-mail came, and then the step no one saw coming, the text message. As Steven Moffat said in an old interview I recently got back to, the text message is one of the most Sherlock Holmes-ish of modern inventions, the telegram re-invented. Terse, efficient . . . the minute Holmes first appeared in Sherlock via text, I knew the creators had a feel for the trick. Text messages make one's existence much more Holmes-ish than smoking a pipe ever did. The pipe was a superficial trait. The text/telegram is a method.

But I digress. Correspondence was the subject.

See, it's even hard to talk about "snail" mail these days. What used to be the life's blood of non-local Sherlockiana and a touchstone to the world of Sherlock Holmes himself, where a single letter was a revelation in all sorts of ways, is a thing of a prior period in history. Along with pipes and male headwear, we've moved out of an era where even the modern Basil Rathbone still could share so much with his Victorian original.

And yet . . .

Just as the text message serves for the telegram in Sherlock, for me this blog serves where letters once did. True, I don't usually start them with "Dear Wally," or "Dear Tina," as I did in my early days, but a whole lot of these blogs are written as if to a particular friend and I'm just sharing our fun with the rest of the world. The stuff you read here is the stuff I once wrote in letters . . . though I did tend to jump topics a lot more back then.

Things change, and yet, since human beings have a certain slowness to evolve, some things don't. Sherlockians are Sherlockians yet, and though the world explode . . . well, if the world explodes that's pretty much it . . . though the world change dramatically, certain correspondences remain.

Yeah, I'm not really fond of that last line either, but it's late, so there you go.

Yours truly,


  1. "The Shop Around the Corner" becomes "You've Got Mail". Humans haven't changed in millennia, yet their tools evolve. Holmes and Watson are fixed points even when their cinematic counterparts change with the age. Very nice, Brad

  2. Oh joy, we're not alone:

  3. And a different point of view : The internet is wide and deep enough to find whatever you want.