Saturday, April 4, 2020

The missing 221B Con blues

Damn, I can't even settle on a decent pun for the title of this piece. "221 not-to-be-con?" Yeah, Hamlet, but sounds too suicidal. "221B Con" or "221B Con't" looks way too much like the "Con't" is abbreviated "Continued." Perhaps they're all just a little too small, a little too hacky for the big bittersweet feels of tonight.

This is the night. The dead center of what was supposed to be 221B Con weekend. And it's not.

Seeing a lot of valiant efforts out their to keep the spirit up and live this weekend, and I'm so, so proud of all those heroes. And I really thought it would be cool to join in some of the online stand-ins, but when the time came, I just couldn't. It just reminded me too much of what we lost this year.

The January NYC-headed Sherlockians have never had to deal with this kind of hit thus far in their history. When they were celebrating this year, the first confirmed case of the virus in America was only occurring as they were starting to leave, and that on the other side of the country. It's sure to affect their next year somehow, but that's a ways off still. Time to accept, adjust, adapt, as we're all doing now. But have they ever had that event *YOINK*ed out from under them only the month before? Nope.

Now, I know a lot of my old school compatriots probably can't exactly see how I can compare 221B Con to the ancient New York Sherlockian tradition. Or be as heartbroken as I am about this year's missing con when I never go to their thing any more. NYC and dress-up dinners were never my style, but a solid con? That's my place and my people. When I finally got one centered on Sherlock Holmes after THIRTY-FIVE years as a Sherlockian who had been going to other fandoms' cons all that time? Aw, man, that was beautiful. Seven years ago, and if there's any truth to that old truism about the human body completely regenerating ever seven years, my current body has never lived in a world without 221B Con.

So it's a really bittersweet weekend. Bitter for no con, of course, but, damn, so sweet that the thing has existed and become a part of my life, bringing in so much content from so many Sherlockians whose work I might not have got to enjoy without the con. The writers, the artists, the personalities ... the little things -- 221B Con has always symbolized so much more than the con itself. It has represented that whole wave of Sherlockians that joined the party post-2010. All that creativity that sprang up across the internet, even from those who had nothing directly to do with the con -- creativity has been so celebrated there, that it's hard to separate the two.

I'll be missing that big jolt of inspiration that comes out of 221B Con each year, but in this crazy, crazy time, there's a lot of ideas crawling out of the lumber-room woodwork anyway. And with a year to prepare for the next Con . . . hmmm.

There's a time to feel the feels, and a time to use that lowering move as the crouch before the leap. And after many recent thoughts of Sherlock Holmes being compared to a tiger by Watson, that image is not all that unwelcome.

Onward and upwards, my friends. Onward and upwards.

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