Tuesday, April 12, 2022

The rose that is Sherlockiana

 Of all the lines in the Canon of Sherlock Holmes, there is one that I think best describes our hobby.  It may not seem that way at first glance, in context, but let's look at it a little more closely . . .

"What a lovely thing a rose is . . . Our highest assurance of the goodness of Providence seems to be to rest in the flowers. All other things, our powers, our desires, our food, are all really necessary for our existence in the first instance. But this rose is an extra. Its smell and its color are an embellishment of life, not a condition of it."

Sherlockiana is, when you consider it, a man-made rose. It is a lovely thing, a definite embellishment of life. It doesn't feed us, or house us, and isn't really necessary for our existence, as much as it might feel that way to the serious addict like myself. 

Coming back from a few days immersed in the hobby and its friends, as one does at 221B Con and other events, I couldn't help but think how much the fact that I got to enjoy this past weekend was a sign that things are going pretty well. No pandemics hammering us. No natural disasters from here to Atlanta. No civil war. And then the personal list: Still healthy enough to make the journey, with an income that makes it possible, and no personal crises that need tending for the moment.

Sherlockiana, like that moss rose in "The Naval Treaty," is an assurance -- an assurance that life is going pretty well at present, well enough to indulge in an embellishment like fandom.

While the more serious among us might go on about how it's important literary scholarship at certain levels, or how it's important that we capture all the history tied to Holmes, at the end of the day, it's a fellow we heard about in the story, and someone we can all survive without. If *POOF* Sherlock Holmes has vanished completely from our lives, enough that we don't even remember him, we'll have other heroes, other joys, and our own character will probably stay intact. Many a Sherlockian has disappeared from the scene to dive into a career, a family, or some other consuming need and returned to us years later, alive and well.

And those of us who aren't retired do that every day anyway, for the most part. Go to work, try to put Holmes out of our heads for eight hours, and get the job done, without the help or ease of Sherlockiana. But when the day is done, if everything went well, we can mentally stroll into 221B Baker Street and drop into that basket chair to see what the boys are up to. And in that moment, be assured that our lives are going pretty well.

Perhaps, as I grow older, I'm much more cognizant of everything it takes for me to get to Atlanta from Peoria for a few glorious days. I know my own health's ups and downs, all the things that can go wrong with a car driving down the road (a semi blew a tire right in front of me this trip, and I managed to safely make it through the rubber shrapnel and sudden slowdown), and have probably thought of every other worst case scenario that would stop me in my tracks in the worrisome days leading up to arriving at the Atlanta aiport Marriott.  But none of that did happen, and I'm now back home, happily assured that things must be pretty okay for me to have enjoyed such a fine weekend.

So here's to the rose that we call "Sherlockiana," our highest assurance of the goodness of life at any moment we're doing it, even in as little a thing as writing this blog.

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