I was asked this week if I had written anything specific about Sherlockian friendship. And after writing for Sherlockian publications for a couple of decades and blogging at least once a week for nearly fourteen years after that, I found myself at a loss. I could not remember a single thing I have ever written about Sherlockian friendship.
I've written about some marvelous Sherlockian friends and their exploits, back when I was a bit more in the thick of it. I've written about clubs that bring some fine groups of folks together, and the adventures one could only have because somebody who wasn't you had a cockamamie idea and they were such great company you had to go along with it.
I've written tons on the effects of Sherlockian friendship, but never specifically on the subject itself . . . at least that I recall.
Sherlockian friendship is unique, yet not unique. It's a coming together of like-minded souls on a plane apart from our usual venues of workplace, community, and family, where friendships develop organically as we move through life. Other fandoms, other hobbies, other enthusiasms in general actually do have similar connections at their conventions, dinners, and meet-ups . . . and of course, our tribal instincts always want to tell us that our group of like-minded folk is a bit above the rest. And maybe Sherlockians do have certain advantages. We do know Mr. Sherlock Holmes, after all.
So why haven't I written more about Sherlockian friendship?
Well, this is the part of this particular post I've been working on all weekend, and there are three versions of what comes after that question that only will ever have been seen by my "delete" button. It's easy to get very introspective on that topic, and even sometimes a little into one's own failings as a friend, if one has any tendencies to go down that road. You can meet some very impressive folk wandering the Sherlockian by-ways, as well as a few total cads, and comparing yourself to the great ones is a rabbit hole nobody wants to see you go down.
But here's the thing: Sherlockian friendship isn't defined by any particular qualities, distinctive bon vivant charms, or literary wit. It's pretty much like regular friendship in that it's defined one individual at a time, one connection at a time. If anyone's relationship with an entire class of people could be standardized, I would suspect that person of never really getting to know any of them all that well.
When I think of Sherlockian friendship, specific names come to mind. Sometimes one of those names brings up a long set of adventures, sometimes one of those names invokes a single meaningful moment. Some bring thoughts of wonderful things we created together, others remind me of how badly I can screw something up. Every relationship, every name and face in my mental version of the Sherlockian Who's Who that I think of when I think of Sherlockian friendship, is different from the rest.
And I owe almost all of them a letter, a visit, or even an apology, but that's another blog post.
Basically, though, I have a very had time defining Sherlockian friendship, because it's never any single thing or combination of things. It's people. And you know what that means.
No two are ever going to be alike.