Sunday, August 27, 2017

"It's not for you."

Modern decor doesn't feature framed needlework quotes hung on the wall so much any more, but if it did, there is one stated truth I think I would have to hang: "It's not for you."

The saying hasn't been around all that long, as I don't think it was necessary fifty years ago. Or maybe it was, we just were trying to get past some bigger issues back then and didn't have extra time to fine-tune. But, as the internet gave all of us a broadcast platform, even if it was just our Facebook feed, and pundit/critic licenses suddenly came with birth certificates, those words became a very necessary reflection.

It's not for you.

And, boy, does that apply to the hobby of Sherlockiana.

You see, we only have these sixty stories of Sherlock Holmes. And people are living a very long time now. As a Sherlockian about to hit sixty who came to the hobby in college, I've got over forty years in this field of focus now, which means I've looked at those same stories way too many damn times. Yes, yes, evergreen prose, blah, blah, blah, but come on now . . . nothing is that magical.

At this point, listening to a new Sherlockian podcast or reading some new article that spends half its time going down a path I've been down literally hundreds of times before, my first thought has to be "It's not for you." Because it's not.

This is the trap of becoming an elder Sherlockian: Thinking you're the same person you were when you started. Thinking your happy memories from the 1970s can be entirely useful to a Sherlockian minted in the 2010s. Thinking your boredom should be everyone's boredom.

I don't review things that much in this blog because I don't have the ability to any more. This morning, for example, I sampled a Sherlockian entertainment that I really wanted to like but it was just too same-old, same-old . . . for me. To someone who just joined the club last year, it would have been great. But to someone with hundreds of Holmes books already on their shelves? Been there, done that, done that in the winter, done that in the spring, done that on the Fourth of July . . . .

When we hear the phrase "It's not for you" we're so often talking about gender perspectives, cultural perspectives, generational perspectives, etc., but the biggest difference that sneaks up on us all over time is just the "having been at this a while" versus "excitement of the new" perspective. Our love of the idea of something can last a lifetime, like a movie that brought us great joy upon first viewing. But actually enjoying that thing itself repeatedly?

Nostalgia only goes so far. It's why new adaptations of older stories take their worst beatings from the diehard fans. You can't recapture your youth or your first time, no matter how much you'd like to, and the best you can do at some point is just to enjoy watching the new kids have their own first time moments and all the crazy fallout that first infatuation brings with it.

Because, like that saying goes, at some point it's not for you any more at all. It's for those who come next.

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