Monday, July 20, 2015

In your own words . . . .

First came a debate in the news as to what constitutes a "hero." And I thought, "Is Sherlock Holmes a hero these days?"

Then came a discussion on Facebook as to what we call Sherlockiana, hobby or fandom? And I thought, "Here we go again."

But that's just my age showing through. We need to ask ourselves such questions, just as surely as we have to look for identifiers to our current location from time to time. A good friend of mine used to occasionally ask himself, "Am I a good Sherlockian?" He wasn't talking good and evil, fearing going down some darker path. He was looking at the people around him, measuring his own exploits in the hobby, and seeing if he was running at the pace of the other deerstalkered thoroughbreds in the race. Or at least it seemed so to me, as I'd hate to gauge what was going through someone else's head.

But he was a great Sherlockian, a fact many knew then and many have noticed since.

I like Sherlockians who ask themselves questions about who they are and what following Sherlock Holmes means to them . . . a lot better than Sherlockians who try to tell the rest of us who we are.

You might be a fan. You might be a hobbyist. You might be a cultist. Your call.

Sherlock Holmes might be your hero. Dr. Watson might be the guy you really respect.  (But c'mon, it's still "Sherlockiana," who are we kidding?) Still, your call.

You can find it of importance to have the three letters "B.S.I." attached to someone's name. You can look at podcasting as the place where the stars of modern Sherlockiana are made. Your favorite writers can analyze Conan Doyle's life and works, or your favorite writers can pen the hottest Johnlock porn. Yep, your call.

Today's Sherlockian world is bigger, bolder, and full of more opportunity than ever before. You can be whatever kind of Sherlockian you want to be. You can take the little slider bars on your Sherlockian control panel and move "YouTube video creator" up to 10, pull "Appropriate quote spouter" down to 5, set "Ronald Howard expert" at 8 and "Weekend event attendee" at 2. On and on it goes.

The point, I guess, is that we're not a marching band stepping down the street in formation. We're not fans, we're not hobbyists, we're not Cumberbitches, we're not collectors, we're not scholars, we're not, as a whole, any one thing . . . other than people who find enough significance in the man called Sherlock Holmes to call ourselves Sherlockians.

And every now and then, it's kind of fun to check yourself out and see what being a Sherlockian your way means, with the words you pick. And if you find some folks who say, "Me, too!" . . . then all the better. And if you don't?

Wait for it. Everything we have in the Sherlockian world now started with one person going, "I'm going to try celebrating Sherlock Holmes like this!" and just going with what was in their particular gut.

Like any other word, the meaning of "Sherlockian" depends upon its usage. And if the person using it is you, well . . . .


  1. Beautifully written. Made me pause and ask myself what being a Sherlockian my way meant.

    Turns out that while I love the thrill of the stories and the deductions a lot, I am also fascinated by the umpteen inspirational/personal growth based lessons in the Sherlock Holmes stories and novels.

    When I read the quote about 'the rose' in The Naval Treaty or about the importance of 'little things' in A Case of Identity or that quote about revenge in The Cardboard Box, I'm like: Wow, that's so true.

    I LOVE those moments when Sherlock Holmes makes me think about my own life...

    'Life lessons from Sherlock Holmes' - is the book I might write one day I guess.

  2. I love everything you said here.

    Back in the olden days, in the early 1980's when dinosaurs roamed the earth, there was a pair of competing sayings/philosophies/buttons in Star Trek fandom; FIAWOL (Fandom Is A Way Of Life) and FIJAGH (Fandom Is Just A Goddamned Hobby). I still prefer the first, because it was and is true for me (even though I'm not as active as when I was younger), and also because it's easier to pronounce the acronym.

    Korina, elderly fan (formerly Fan) and forever Sherlockian

    1. Only back int the dinosaur times, we debated such things in letterzines and such . . . I do miss those days a bit.