Saturday, September 26, 2015

Teaching Holmes's methods on the spur of the moment.

In about eight hours from this moment, I need to deliver a presentation on using the methods of Sherlock Holmes to solve a mystery for folks attending a murder mystery evening next week. And, in the tradition of Mr. Cocksure, so confident am I . . . apparently . . . upon that subject, that I've put off getting that talk together until now. (Well, actually, I was hoping someone else might fill that spot on the program and I wouldn't have to put myself on it.)

"Mr. Cocksure," of course, is one of those favorite things Sherlock Holmes gets called in the Canon, and not some weird trauma-related persona I developed after listening to a Three Patch Podcast sex episode. See . . . I'm already distracted. How am I going to get this done, especially while blogging that I'm doing it?

First thing I do is call up the genie that is myself from the past. Write a book on a topic you really love when you're young and you have a reference to your earlier self forever. Can't recommend it enough. The chapter breakdowns in The Elementary Methods of Sherlock Holmes should be enough for the moment. Ah, but we're talking about Sherlock Holmes here.

Every time you look at that guy, you see something new.

I never really considered how much he uses the newspapers to get a lot of basic facts on cases, especially when a client's letter hasn't laid it out or an in-person tale of client woe hasn't done likewise. I mean, reading the papers is just so boring, so commonplace (Well, it used to be!) that one hardly thinks of it as something Holmes was doing as a detective. A basic summary, a list of the players involved . . . if a crime made it to the papers before Sherlock Holmes made it to the crime, why not take advantage?

But back to the overall presentation. I basically wound up splitting this one into "Things already in your head," "Things you do to get things in your head," and "Things you do with the things you've put in your head once they're there." And since we all like to try to play Holmes now and then, I threw in a couple of demo exercises on observation and the questioning of clients to let folks try out.

. . . . and then, hours later, it was suddenly over. Always fun talking to people about Sherlock Holmes, and even though it wasn't up to what I would have called a great presentation, people had a good time with it, and it had some bits with potential for future development.

For now, however, sleep.

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