Friday, November 13, 2020

The less socially motivated Sherlockian

 A couple of questions have come up lately that have related answers, so it seemed worth a post. The first was "Why not invited a guest on your podcast?" The second, "Do the Hansoms of John Clayton still meet?"

Here is the grand Sherlockian paradox.

A goodly share of our number are bookish sorts. Introverts. Readers who enjoy our own company as much as a group. And yet everyone wants a little company now and then, the validation of a community, the fresh ideas of others who know your field.

And over the years, if one gets involved in a hobby, an introvert might pick up a few social skills, lose some of that fear of public speaking, even organize a function or two. And yet there remains a distinct difference between being a true gregarious extrovert and someone who can sometimes pass as one.

So, the answers to the two questions: As long as either of those questions relies completely on me, my natural inclinations never draw me in those directions. 

Podcast guests aren't a problem, if time allows and it's someone I'm comfortable with from past association. Cold-calling someone brand new? Not in my zone, especially for a first meeting to converse over Zoom. And not the sort of thing I'm going to bite the bullet and force upon myself when there is so much other Sherlocking to do out there.

Do the Hansoms of John Clayton yet meet? Well, Sherlockians do meet in Peoria, together when we can, Zooming when we cannot. Gathering under the name of the Hansoms faded out in the 2000s, when things were slowing down and our meetings fell to three persons per, two of whom came from my house. We had a couple attempts at restarts since then, but the evenings were mostly filled with my friends who would have come over anyway and the one or two other Peoria Sherlock Holmes fans, if they had time.

The Sherlock Holmes Story Society, the name I came up with for our library discussion group, when it started a few years back, has been meeting monthly for four straight years now. We've got a good group of regulars, even after Covid knocked us down by half. Being public library based, however, we needed a name that advertised what we did without explanation. I could easily hand out membership cards or certificates to our group and claim the Hansoms of John Clayton still exist, but that seems like a bit of a cheat.

The Hansoms of John Clayton will exist in Peoria, at least as long as I do. It'll be one of those one-or-two person groups like the Solitary Cyclist or the One Fixed Point or the Shingle of Southsea until that day when someone with enough interest in classic Sherlockian society dinners or meetings comes along and has extroversion, energy, and time enough to try to build it up again. And I'll be willing to help that person. But for now . . . .

Some of us are just a little too comfortable with Mr. Sherlock Holmes, a book, and a laptop for some projects to get fully undertaken.

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