I'm a little bit fascinated, of late, by the November conference being held by the Baker Street Irregulars. Called "Building an Archive," the weekends focus, aside from the history of the BSI itself, is archiving and collecting, featuring a host of speakers related to that theme. It's a very specialized theme for a Sherlockian weekend, and makes me wonder if it isn't the shape of things to come.
During the Sherlockian "boom" of the late seventies and early eighties, there were few enough Sherlockians that gathering under anything more targeted than "Sherlock Holmes" probably wouldn't have gathered all that many attendees. Now that we've seen professionally-run conventions centered around a single Sherlock Holmes TV show, it's definitely a different world. (Sorry if "things are different now" is a recurring theme in this blog -- you live long enough, it's what you've got.) Things were bound to get more specialized.
Collecting Sherlockiana seems a little retro to me at this point, something from the John Bennett Shaw days when we were all doing it. But my bias stems in part from my age, I think, as many a younger Sherlockian is still gleefully adding another book to the shelves instead of going, "Now where am I going to put this?" Are there less collectors now? I don't know. But what I do know is that there are a helluva lot more writers.
So many people have a published Sherlock Holmes story. So many folks have even made it to the goal of published novel. And I'm talking both print and online publishing here. We seem to be awash with Sherlockian writers these days, which makes me wonder something else:
How long until we have a weekend conference that's just completely a Sherlockian writer's workshop?
221B Con is marvelous in that area, and fiction writing has been a core part of its attendees celebrations of Sherlock Holmes. Yet it is marvelously an "everything Sherlock" convention, and much too social for stopping to write more than a bit. But what if one was to run a specialized Sherlockian writer's conference with the entire goal of coming out as a somewhat improved writer? Maybe publishing a collection of the works of attendees. (And don't say the words "round robin novel" to me. Often fun in the practice, usually not a fun read.)
I'm only thinking along those lines because, when all is said and done, I am a writer. Sherlockians with other specialties might have their own dreams of a weekend devoted to their area of fun with the great detective. And the world is probably big enough for all sorts of them at this point.
One can hope, at least.