I’m in London right now! For the very first time in my life!
(Note: I’m not counting the time in my early twenties where I got rerouted through Heathrow Airport during a very hectic Madrid-to-Seattle trip, where I then got rudely yelled at, and then had my check in luggage lost for three weeks…. that one time doesn’t count. This is a proper do-over. And instead of Heathrow, I flew in through Gatwick. So there. Ha!)
If you live around London, or ever visit London, what are some of your favorite places to go?
If you’ve never been, but you want to go to London one day, what would you like to go see?
I would like to present a proposed design for a symbol of the John H Watson Society:
The pen for Dr Watson the biographer, the scalpel for Dr Watson the man of medicine, and the tree roots that extend above and below to form a growing connection between the past and present, the established generation reaching out to connect with the recent wave of newcomers interested in the adventures of Sherlock Holmes and our good friend, Dr Watson.
So the questions for this week’s forum is simply… hey, so, what do you think of the design?
This week, our billiard friends from the Retired Beekeepers of Sussex released a free online copy of the latest volume of The Practical Handbook of Bee Culture, which includes contributions from JHWS members “Pippin” and “Misty.” Bravo!
One of my favorite contributions to their volume is Basil’s illustrated essay, “Reading Holmes as a Trans Man.” I love it because the essay shares a view of the Canon that is not familiar to how I read the cases. In fact, seeing it through a different lens adds a new facet to my observations that I never considered before.
By reading through another Sherlockian’s perspective, we can encounter a fresh view of the Canon and observe new connections and ideas. I believe that is a big part of what makes The Watsonian such an exciting read.
So have you ever read a work related to Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson, or spoke to a fellow Sherlockian, and was surprised to see the Canon viewed and interpreted in a different way? What did you learn from the experience? Tell us about it!
Although mischaracterized as unobservant, Dr Watson was an intelligent man who learned from Sherlock Holmes’ methods throughout the many years they worked together. In fact, there is an example of this in DEVI, where Dr Watson applies those methods of observation to keep pace his friend’s deductions:
“Mr. Holmes,” said the vicar in an agitated voice, “the most extraordinary and tragic affair has occurred during the night. It is the most unheard-of business. We can only regard it as a special Providence that you should chance to be here at the time, for in all England you are the one man we need.”
I glared at the intrusive vicar with no very friendly eyes; but Holmes took his pipe from his lips and sat up in his chair like an old hound who hears the view-halloa. He waved his hand to the sofa, and our palpitating visitor with his agitated companion sat side by side upon it. Mr. Mortimer Tregennis was more self-contained than the clergyman, but the twitching of his thin hands and the brightness of his dark eyes showed that they shared a common emotion.
“Shall I speak or you?” he asked of the vicar.
“Well, as you seem to have made the discovery, whatever it may be, and the vicar to have had it second-hand, perhaps you had better do the speaking,” said Holmes.
I glanced at the hastily clad clergyman, with the formally dressed lodger seated beside him, and was amused at the surprise which Holmes’s simple deduction had brought to their faces.
Can you find other moments in the Canon where Dr Watson uses Holmes’ methods of observation?
There’s a “new” book out titled Sherlock: The Essential Arthur Conan Doyle Adventures which collects 19 famous cases that the BBC Sherlock creators, Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, view as essential reading.
If you’re like me, you’re not particularly interested in this book because you already own at least half a dozen different versions of the complete Sherlock Holmes canon (How did I end up with so many versions? How much is too much?). However, I did find their listing of 19 “essential” stories interesting. Here is the list of stories that they selected for the book:
A Study In Scarlet
The Sign of Four
A Scandal in Bohemia
The Red-Headed League
A Case of Identity
The Man with the Twisted Lip
The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle
The Adventure of the Speckled Band
The Yellow Face
The Musgrave Ritual
The Greek Interpreter
The Final Problem
The Hound of the Baskervilles
The Empty House
Charles Augustus Milverton
The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans
The Adventure of the Devil’s Foot
The Adventure of the Dying Detective
The Baker Street Irregulars recently announced the details of their upcoming BSI Weekend to celebrate the 162nd birthday of Sherlock Holmes. I’ve never been before, but I actually plan to fly to NYC and attend a few of the surrounding events happening January 13-16, 2015, such as the ASH Dinner or the Christopher Morley Walk. Will anyone be attending? I’d love it if I could meet other Watsonians there as well.
So, have you ever attended the BSI Weekend? Please share your experiences with us.
Please note: Since those who submit to The Watsonian retain the ownership of their own works, if your work is going to appear in the Fall 2015 volume and you would like a pdf copy of your submission (for your portfolio, records, or simply to print out and give to friends), please e-mail me and I’ll send you a file of your work as how it appears in the actual printed volume.
Related to that topic… what is an essay or story in a Sherlockian publication that you’ve read that you would recommend as essential reading?
The upcoming volumes of the Watsonian and the Fiction Series are currently printing and getting ready for distribution. I’m looking forward to everyone receiving them in the mail!
One contribution I’m looking forward to is “Long-Lost Watson: Edward Fielding in William Gillette’s Sherlock Holmes” by Jon Lellenberg, JHWS “Towser.” It is quite a nice write up in response to the Gillette film that was recovered and brought to theaters this year. I wrote a personal essay to accompany Towser’s piece and submitted it to The Watsonian to be featured with his.
However… on this occasion, we decided to be more strict on the page count and we had to make some difficult last minute decisions to move a few pieces to the Spring 2016 volume. In the process, I chose to cut out my essay. It won’t be featured in next year’s volumes, but Pippin suggested that we make it available for free. So I hope you enjoy a sample of our upcoming volume. Here’s the link:
“At this period of my life the good Watson had passed almost beyond my ken.” – LION
The Adventure of the Lion’s Mane is a curious case. Dr Watson is absent from the events and Mr Holmes took up his pen to describe what occurred. Although the case describes countryside intrigue, the actual culprit had no involvement in such interpersonal matters. Holmes wrote this case and yet it is one of the least flattering of his investigations.
What are your thoughts on LION? Why did Holmes write it? How would it have gone differently if Dr Watson were there? Do you personally think it is one of the better stories, one of the worst, or simply somewhere in the middle?
“The work itself, the pleasure of finding a field for my peculiar powers, is my highest reward.” (SIGN)
I’m happy to announce that the autumn volume of The Watsonian is off to the printers. Huzzah!
For this week’s forum, share with us any Sherlockian (or Watsonian)-related projects you’ve worked on this year. Have you written an essay, drawn a picture, gathered with others to discuss the Canon stories (if so, which one?), written a mystery, performed in a play?
Tell us a little of what you’ve been working on this year.
We’re all Watsonians and call ourselves so. The title of our publication proudly anounnces it. When we reach out to each other and converse, we already know what it means and who we are. We find common ground because we are Watsonians.
So, if someone (perhaps a Sherlockian, perhaps a layman unaware of what year it Always Is) were to ask you what does it mean to be a Watsonian, what is the cleverest answer you could provide them?
As it is that time of year, I’m currently in the middle of helping our Editor-in-Chief, Pippin, and his editorial team prepare The Watsonian for print.
So let’s discuss JHWS publications (The Watsonian, The Monograph Series, and The Fiction Series) this week. What have you enjoyed so far? What would you like to read more about in the future? And in what areas do you think we could improve our publications?