Saturday, April 25, 2020

A new era for Sherlockiana, or same-old, same-old?

As the pandemic changes our world, Sherlockiana rolls on.

Not entirely because of any special strength of resolve, but simply because Sherlockiana has always been a hobby to enjoy in isolation. Sure, major cities have regular social events, regular dinners, social occasions that have been curtailed, but for a large number of us, doing our Sherlockian thing week to week, this is our sweet spot. Reading is a solitary activity. Writing is a solitary activity. And, boy, are we readers and writers.

It's what always made the weekend symposiums, 221B Con, and Sherlock's birthday weekend so special -- that rare point of contact with folks who have been building up Sherlockian steam in their homes for months. The internet changed that somewhat, and the BBC Sherlock surge pushed new connectivity past the Luddites in our ranks. But as we're learning in excruciating detail from all the Zoom calls, there's really no total replacement for person-to-person contact.

Yet, one remembers that our predecessors did their Sherlockian thing with just the good old U.S. Postal Service as their line of connectivity. Sure, there were telephones, but I don't remember having long phone chats with too many Sherlockians. Maybe the experience of others was different, of course. The Sherlockian weekend gatherings outside of the New York business didn't really start until when  . . . the 1970s? Without some local interest, the hobby of Sherlockiana was a solitary pursuit, and still is for many. Something about the personality of Sherlock Holmes himself attracts the lone student, and, as a result, gives us the true value of Watson.

So where does that put us, as the world adapts itself to social change to fit the times, an uncertain economy, and who knows what else?

Simply where we've always been. Figuring out what to do next from the grand buffet of exploring and celebrating Sherlock Holmes. Collecting, researching, and creating all those things that will carry this hobby on into the future, for those coming generations of Sherlockians who look at a bunch of stories, a bookshelf, or a movie collection as an ongoing past-time worth focusing on those two fellows who started out together in the 1880s.

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