This week I got the gift of perspective that is having one's smartphone become useless for a day while alone and away from home.
I still had a laptop, wifi, a hotel room phone . . . so not too big a crisis, of course, but even with all that, it was an interesting little experiment. The regular checking in on Twitter, the constant stream of podcast voices during morning rituals like shaving, the ability to find a particular store while driving around an unfamiliar town, and more, all gone. A host of trivial things missing, yes, but the feeling of just being disconnected with life itself was amazing.
When we think of Sherlockiana, a lot of times we think of books about Sherlock Holmes, art depicting Sherlock Holmes, knick-knacks that evoke Sherlock Holmes . . . the things of Sherlock Holmes. It can be an analytical article or a movie adaptation, a party favor or a fannish song. People collect Sherlockiana. But is that really Sherlockiana itself, or the residue from the actual thing that is Sherlockiana?
Google "definition of Sherlockiana" and the search engine pulls up
"Definition. People interested in Sherlock Holmes and who enjoy sharing their interest with others are baptized sherlockians or holmesians. Their purpose is to keep green the memory of the detective. The literary activities of the sherlockians is called Sherlockiana."
Google is pulling that curious combination of thoughts from a site called The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia, which gets a part of it, but doesn't really dive deeply enough.
Are activities a part of Sherlockiana? Are clubs a part of Sherlockiana?
While writings, art, and objects are things we call "Sherlockiana," what are they really, if not just ways Sherlockians connect with other Sherlockians. Just like societies, conventions, and mailings. Even the simple act of wearing a T-shirt with Sherlock and John on it is a means of broadcasting your love of the boys in the hope that someone will see it and, even in their head, just for a moment, connect with those feelings.
Getting my phone up and working again and resuming my connections with all the data streams it brings, I suddenly had a lot of Sherlockiana once again available during any given moment. And it wasn't just "literary activities," as the ACD Encyclopedia site defines the word. It was the verbal web of a multitude of Sherlockians sending out their quivers of thought for other spiders on the web to pick up. (If you think "spiders" is creepy, I could have went with a tendrils/feelers sort of metaphor and had Sherlockians be Cthulhu-like tentacle beasties. At least Moriarty metaphors aren't Cthulhu horrific.)
Losing and regaining some of my connections this week gave me a new definition of Sherlockiana, not as a collection of things, but as the connections that are the reason for those things. Fanfic kudos. Membership certificates. Movie reviews. All residue of the true network of shared loved of Sherlock Holmes and John H. Watson.
Thinking of Sherlockiana as a network of shared love really makes clear what our goals as Sherlockians should be, too. Not to define boundaries, act as gatekeepers, or promote our personal brands, but to share joy as much as we possibly can.
Okay, I've got to reign it in a bit before I become a little too sweet about this hobby I've enjoyed for my entire adult life. But you get the picture. Stay connected, with whatever media you favor.
Because we're all out here, waiting to hear from you, even if it's just via t-shirt.