Saturday, August 11, 2018

Holmes in the Heartland day afternoon.

Well, if something was going to throw the posted schedule for Holmes in the Heartland off its rails, it would have to be Mark Twain.

Speaking on his "Double-Barrelled Detective Story" and other matters Twainlockian or just Twainish, Mark Twain (or Samuel Clemens, or . . . maybe Warren Brown) gave a funny and, perhaps, educational for those of us who hadn't read every single one of his books, like Wisconsin Sherlockian Gayle Puhl.

The challenge of following Mr. Twain fell to Dr. Tassy Hayden, who, just one short year or so ago, was quite nervous about attending her first meeting of a traditional scion society. Would you believe that now, as she got up to the podium to deliver a paper on Holmes's monographs? Not at all.

A good mind like Tassy's drops so well into Sherlockian study that her paper stood well against all the learned works I heard in Dayton this spring from more experienced hands. The science of fingerprinting actually has some historical ties to St. Louis, it turns out. Since my talk is next, I'm suddenly finding its lack of ties to St. Louis or the library an excuse to get nervous, though at this point, I'm pretty sure that will pass when I've got a podium in front of me.

Singlestick has St. Louis ties as well!

At this point, my chronicling of the event falls into a "fog of war" zone, as I had to do my own talk in which I introduced a quantum theory of Sherlockian scholarship that explains Doyle's continuity by taking every detail as truth . . . but maybe not a truth on this Earth. Tuesdays on Fridays. Cocaine that makes you sleepy. Multiple versions of "A Scandal in Bohemia." The talk was pretty much all over the place, and we'll see if it gets published somewhere this fall.

But after a quick break and a few folk wanting to discuss theoretical Canon continuity science, it was time for my buddy Don Hobbs to take the podium and talk about Sherlockian collecting, which he is extremely qualified to do. As one of the many who learned at the feet of John Bennett Shaw, then took a special interest and pushed into that field beyond what the master collector ever did, Don has a LOT of collecting stories. Looking back on the day, it's fascinating how many of the talks were about personal experiences . . . tales of Sherlockian life.

That might make a theme for a Sherlockian conference all by itself: "Sherlockian Stories: The Adventures and Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes Fans." (Feel free to steal this idea.)

Don is revealing a few tricks for identifying Sherlock Holmes books when you can't read the language. The "2704" cab number in The Hound of the Baskervilles. The year 1895. Mistakes are definitely made in the process, of course, but with dedication and determination, foreign editions can be found. Which Don did, in many countries, and in many anecdotes.

Next on the program, "The Fighting Styles of Sherlock Holmes." This was the point a local fighting group was supposed to put on a fighting demo, but they broke up between agreeing to do it and now. What then, does a conference committee do to fill that void? Well, if they know a certain blogger who says, "Hey, I can write a fighting demo over this weekend!" they might get something they can work with to take the place of their missing fighting group. I am VERY curious to see how that turns out.

That is, if we have time . . . running a tad late and people always have questions for Don Hobbs.

Hooo boy . . . this is getting wacky. More to come.

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