The distances we cross for Sherlock Holmes are pretty amazing.
Unlike many a Sherlockian, I haven't crossed an ocean yet, but I have been so many places I never would have otherwise been motivated enough to go, from Santa Fe to New York City. My first border crossing into Canada was in pursuit of Sherlock, and my first 1895 mile road trip with a van full of guys in Sherlockian polo shirts was chasing Holmes and Watson all over Texas.
But here's the thing: I don't do the same thing over and over, go the same place over and over on vacation. I like the new, the different, exploring a little somewhere I haven't been before. Never really been an "every year" person on anything. Except for this one thing.
It's now been six years since I first walked into an Atlanta hotel and saw more human beings than I'd ever seen at a Sherlockian event, younger and less male-dominated than anything before, and just . . . new. Something new in a very old hobby.
So this year, I'm heading to the seventh 221B Con, my sixth time attending. I missed the sophomore outing of the con, because, like I said, I don't do every year things as a matter of course, but 221B Con quickly lured me back, and every year since then as well. Why?
Because every 221B Con is something new.
Going into its seventh year, the con is developing a few habits, a few regular features, sure. But you never quite know what any given panel discussion will bring, especially when you walk into one with a title you don't even understand, but somebody thought was engaging enough to talk about it for an hour. Where more traditional Sherlockian symposiums are places to learn, 221B Con has always seemed like a place for generating new ideas, as all sorts of different influences and attitudes come together around Sherlock Holmes and John H. Watson.
New things happen at 221B Con.
Sometimes in the old world of Sherlockiana, some parties have an attitude of "do this particular thing because this is what Sherlockians have always done." I don't know if 221B Con will eventually fall prey to that sort of thing, as can happen when something eventually becomes an institution, but so far, the attitude of "Hey, let's try this!" or "I wonder if this will work?" has predominated, and that is a part of what I love about the con, and what has taken me back there for more consecutive years than I've gone to just about anything.
And driving down to Atlanta to do it, another city I never really saw myself winding up in. So, with a little anxiety, a little anticipation, and expectations that flail about wildly at not knowing what or who might be there this year, that road begins again.