Why Sherlock Holmes?

A Guest Blog from Don Smith

As a spotlight on members of the Sherlock Street Irregulars, we’ll be posting an equally irregular series of guest blogs which will help members get to know each other and, more importantly, to know what other members do/offer/obsess about in the world of Sherlock Holmes. Our first victim, Don Smith, has agreed to start the ball rolling by talking about his new blog and facebook group.

Who Holmes

In the last few weeks, I started a blog called The Sherlock Conversations, which can be found at Sherlockconversations.wordpress.com. And with it a corresponding Facebook page (sherlockconversations).

Why did I do this?

The world is filled with millions upon millions of Sherlockian fan sites, why add to the “Sherlock Spectrum” (or as I call it the Sherlock Zeitgeist)? What could I possibly add to this detective that was first given life by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and then made a reality by the likes of Basil Rathbone and Jeremy Brett?

Currently, there are four actors running around who have played Sherlock Holmes in major television and film productions (ie. Benedict Cumberbatch, Robert Downey Jr., Johnny Lee Miller and now Ian McKellen).

What could I possibly add to this assortment?

Simply, I can add whatever I want because to appreciate Sherlock Holmes is to appreciate the best in humanity and the best in ourselves.

Pardon the metaphor, I took my trip down to Baker Street not via the usual routes, but by way of a blue Police Box. Obviously, the seeds for the trip were planted by my father who read me a child-friendly copy of THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES every night before bed when I was a kid.

One summer as a school project, I read THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES and all I remembered was the section with “KKK”. I mean in school, who reads their assignments thoroughly? I didn’t. Real reading comes when we step out of school if we are not taught to properly love reading.

As I implied, I came into Baker Street because of a love of DOCTOR WHO. The Doctor is a man (many times) dressed for high tea in Victorian London and ready to face the villains out of Star Trek and Star Wars. But he was more than that. He was a man who sought adventure and could walk into any room and size up anyone and know where he stands against them.

REG Shalka

About the time DOCTOR WHO had been off the air, the web series THE SCREAM OF SHALKA came forward with Richard E. Grant voicing the Doctor. He described it as “Sherlock Holmes in Outer Space.” And that stuck with me – the Doctor was a literary descendent of The Great Detective. (It should be noted the Doctor Who/Sherlock Holmes connections especially with Cumberbatch, Matt Smith, Steven Moffatt, Mark Gatiss and Grant and “The Snowmen” episode of Doctor Who and one of these days I will chronicle other connections).

Then in 2009, when the Downey movie and the Cumberbatch series hit about the same time, I got into Holmes. It was Downey that brought me into Holmes. The seeds that my father, the school assignment and Grant planted finally began to bloom.

Downey, an addict whose career was all but over, to return with this movie (and of course IRON MAN) made me see the power of the Great Detective.

It would be sometime before I started reading Doyle’s work and it took another few years for it to really bloom, but it did when I read the following statement from Watson in A STUDY IN SCARLET:

“What the deuce is it to me?” he interrupted impatiently: “you say that we go round the sun. If we went round the moon it would not make a pennyworth of difference to me or to my work.”

Watson quoted this after listing all of what Holmes knew and did not know about science and the basic pop culture of 1880s London. To elaborate, Holmes said, “No man burdens his mind with small matters unless he has some very good reason for doing so.”

Our world is a world of pop culture and all that we pursue is something that will not last. It is costing us problem solving skills, character and our souls.

Seeing someone like Sherlock Holmes reminds me that I can focus on my dreams and achieve my goals. I can ask better of myself and work towards it and one day get it!

Why have I added another voice to the world of Sherlock? Because, this is my path to get better from me. And God help me (really), I will.

The game’s afoot and I am talking about it over at Sherlockconversations.wordpress.com.

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