Forgive me for a little self-indulgence today (I know, in blog-land that's really every day), but as it's Sherlock Peoria's fifteenth birthday, it seems a day to pause and reflect.
Fifteen years. Yikes.
Here's a link to the original post. It seems barely worth the read, but if you've started reading these in more recent years, a sort of timid start, back when just putting the HTML for the site together was taking up a lot of my focus. The next two blogs were on antique malls and assembling a Sherlockian journal, subjects that were definitely more prominent in the early 2000s -- before the internet took a lot of the steam out of both those endeavors, even though the strongest specimens of each still exist.
In the months that followed, I was putting out a bi-monthly journal and weekly website updates, filling sherlockpeoria.net with all the content I had at my disposal, along with some great contributions from that Sherlockian fireball we call Don Hobbs. Looking back from the present day, when The Holmes & Watson Report ended in 2005, and the weekly website updates ended in 2011, each step seems to have just been stripping off more of the ancillary activities involved with putting words into the ether and just doing the words.
"I am the most incurably lazy devil that ever stood in shoe leather," a great man once said, and when it comes to putting out the words, I will claim that title as well. Write a novel? Been there, done that, three full times. First drafts are fun. Re-write, edit, seek a publisher? Too much effort. (These, of course, were non-Sherlockian, or else I might have made that final push. Sherlock always gives me a bit more energy.) Blogging is pretty much all first drafts, hence, fun. Just doing the words.
And words give us so much. Even temporary ones.
After fifteen years online and over 1700 blog posts, I am very much aware of the ephemeral nature of this ether I'm pouring words into. If I stop paying my website fees on SherlockPeoria.net, those first nine years of writings go away. If Google decides to kill Blogger and all its contents, the last six years of writings vanish as well. But that's okay. It all will have served its purpose. It doesn't need to be eternal.
"Never has so much been written by so many for so few," Christopher Morley once quipped about the 1940s The Baker Street Journal. Sherlockiana has always been a world of small audiences for most of us, and yet we write anyway. We write for the love of Sherlock Holmes and that chance to have our thoughts connect with another's about that emotion. It doesn't matter if you're blogging, writing fanfic, working up a talk for a club meeting, or something for one of those solid print media. The words just want to come out, like fireworks in celebration of Sherlock Holmes and John H. Watson.
And yet, it isn't all just party balloons and confetti. As we order our thoughts to consider matters detective and literary, entering into the specialties of both Holmes and Watson, we can't help but gain something just from the mental exercise. Like body-building of the verbal muscles. And a relief from the tensions of the day, as the mind roams from the daily chores to pathways of a Sherlockian nature.
After fifteen years of this, I seem to have much more energy for writing and not less. The blogs come more often. The words have better moments. And I hear from people.
As so many folks out there know, Mr. Sherlock Holmes can contribute some very worthwhile things to your life. Conan Doyle did his part, and I thank him for that. But Sherlock Holmes is so much more than one man's entity at this point -- so many contributors to the discussion and the legend. And all of that is what makes Sherlock so easy to write about.
For fifteen frickin' years. (And to quote a favorite not-quite-raccoon, "And he didn't say 'frickin'!")
And I'm happy for that. Thanks, all.