Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Chronological Calendar Contemplations

The world of Sherlockian chronology is certainly getting more and notice and attention lately. At last count the newsletter mailing list is at 25, and it shows no signs of slowing down. People are sending in their articles or tidbits they come across and adding to the electronic record of our niche. It's just awesome to get to experience such a tide of interest. (And on a personal note, my Posts on Facebook for Historical Sherlock are getting record Likes, and I love that so many people enjoy them.) Sometimes, though, something is dreamt up to help further a cause that makes your mouth water. At least it does mine. Let me tell you about it.

For those who read our newsletter TIMELINE for our Sherlockian Chronologist Guild, you'll already know about this feature. Back in February 2022 our publisher Brad Keefauver had started something new in said newsletter that makes someone like me crazy - a chronology of chronological events in the Sherlockian world. 

Now, I started off my Sherlockian life over 25 years ago as a completist. However, I have now come to my senses and decided that's not for me. It's easier if the prey you're chasing is a much smaller number, like miniature statues of Ruth Buzzi or something, but not if it's a massive worldwide phenomenon like Sherlock Holmes. You have to narrow down, but on some things you can't help yourself. This calendar of chronological events is too delicious for me to ignore. It's one of the things I could envision myself being a completist for once again.

It's basically a calendar of anything and everything that has shaped what our subset is and its journey along the way. Our chronological patron saint Helen Elizabeth Wilson heads the list, and although she may not have been the first Sherlockian scholar ever, she was the first to look at chronology. Thus, she gets the captain's chair. Books and articles make up the bulk of the list for now, but slowly events are creeping in, and in time I would love to see it become such a massive undertaking that it gets its own place to shine for people to access. For me, though, it's dangerous. I want everything on there. And I mean everything. Let me give you an example...

In my research a few years ago I came across a one-line mention in a now-defunct newsletter of a paper given at a Midwest society meeting that was by someone whom I've never heard of and seems to be off the Sherlockian radar. This piece was about the chronology of The Hound of the Baskervilles (HOUN). So far as I know it was only delivered one time and never published anywhere. I asked another dedicated Holmes-ite to see what they could find about it, but I knew in my heart uncovering any information was a longshot - a conclusion that was verified. But it's still a chronological happening, none-the-less. Maybe one day it will turn up. It's no surprise it wasn't found, though, seeing as it was given on March 18, 1983.

I started a chronological piece in my local society newsletter, The Illustrious Clients News, back in October 2005. (Yep, that's a picture of the actual page there.) Now, anyone who knows me knows I am not egotistical in any way. I think it's a repugnant trait to have. (If being that way serves someone reading this, then let your freak flag fly. It just ain't for me.) In my completist view and hopes for this calendar, however, I would like to see any articles like mine written by anyone anywhere included on the list. I wouldn't be so crazy as to want to include when or where or on what machine it was written (that's kooky talk), but I was serious when I said everything.

Even passing mentions in pieces about other things would be acceptable. I have an (as of yet) unpublished paper by a long-time Sherlockian that is about a particular subject in The Canon, but has one paragraph in it which states the date the author thinks the whole thing took place (even though they're not a chronologist and it isn't a chronological piece). That counts. It has valid information in it, and I find it important enough to list in my database on the Individual Date spreadsheet. Again, everything.

I realize that this mountain of information may be too weighty a thing for a newsletter, but I did say that I'd like to see this in its own space someday. Future scholars may want to access it. It is just as significant as any other listing or record of Sherlockian doings. And I believe it's quite unique. If there's another calendar of events specifically for another subset/niche out there, I'd love to know about it, but I'm not aware of any.

The reason it's dangerous for me is that I could see myself spending WAY too much time seeking out such things. I already have boxes and boxes full of newsletters and journals and articles, and I can see me going through each meticulously in order to find anything related to our purpose. I already have enough to do, and this would have to get wedged in somewhere. It's such a delicious idea, and one I'm not sure I can ignore in order to do regular life stuff. I fancy myself pretty good at finding things, and I've always had a knack for doing so in unusual and forgotten places. The hunt is so much fun that the find is almost disappointing - unless you have another item on your list to seek out, that is.

If you want to be a part of all of this, or just peek in and see what's happening from time to time, all you have to do is send me an email, a private message, or ask me in the Comments section below, and I'll be happy to give you all the information you desire. There's still so much work to do, and the more hands and minds the merrier. I wouldn't call ourselves a scholarly society, but discovery and contemplation are certainly on the menu. Regardless of what a group does, it all keeps the memory of The Master green, and that's makes it all worth it.

Once again, my profound appreciation goes out to all of you for stopping by for a little fun and knowledge. The counter is nearing 150,000 hits, and my moldy old brain cannot comprehend it. I'll see you next month, and as always...thanks for reading.