Monday, July 22, 2019

Here in My Museum [BLUE]

The Three Garridebs has the best line in the whole Canon: "Why should I go out when I have so much to hold me here?"

Nathan Garrideb spoke right to my heart with those words.  As someone who is very happy to sit at home and read, I know EXACTLY where this guy is coming from.  But, alas, I'm not able to cloister myself away in my homemade museum of oddities like Mr. Garrideb.  

And let's talk about that museum, shall we?  Watson tells us that Garrideb's rooms were "both broad and deep, with cupboards and cabinets all round, crowded with specimens, geological and anatomical.  Cases of butterflies and moths flanked each side of the entrance.  A large table in the centre was littered with all sorts of debris, while the tall brass tube of a powerful microscope bristled up among them."  

As I was reading this, I was torn on how Holmes would react to such a space.  Garrideb's interests are as varied, if not more, than Holmes' are.  Flint instruments, fossils, skulls, coins, Japanese vases.  All we are told is that Holmes "looked round him with curiosity."  Would Holmes have been interested or appalled by this collection?  The readers have hope that Holmes will engage with this collection when he asks Garrideb to come back and view it the following day, but alas, it is only a ploy to catch a criminal.

I, for one, like to think that Holmes found a kindred spirit in Nathan Garrideb.  As Sherlockians, we know what it's like to be collectors.  Nathan Garrideb is definitely a collector.  Sherlock Holmes has collections of his own.  From his scrap-books to his disguises, you know Baker Street is full of assemblages of items.  

But Nathan Garrideb's goal of being the Hans Sloane of his age never came about.  Hans Sloane's personal collection went on to found The British Museum, The British Library, and The National History Museum, we never hear of Garrideb and his collection again.  

And for Sherlock Holmes' collections?  Well, he may not have founded any museums or libraries, but he surely founded something much bigger than all of us...

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Interesting Interview: Tassy Hayden

Anyone who knows Dr. Tassy Hayden knows what an intelligent, passionate, and caring person she is.  And those qualities shine through in her views as a Sherlockian as well.  She is active in her local scion, The Parallel Case of St. Louis, frequent participant at 221B Con, a fan fiction author, former co-host of the Three Patch Podcast, Watsonian charm bracelet manufacturer, and much more.

I've known Tassy for about three years now.  We met through Twitter and she joined The Parallel Case shortly after that.  Since then, she's become a regular member, always contributing medical knowledge, probing questions about the roles of women, and overall great comments about Doyle's writing.  She was an integral part in last year's Holmes in the Heartland weekend and can be counted on to have deep thoughts and/or pictures of her cat on Twitter and Instagram.

Tassy is a real spark plug in our Sherlockian hobby.  If you know her, kick back and get to know her a little better.  If the name Tassy Hayden isn't familiar to you, dig in and get ready for an interesting interview.

How do you define the word “Sherlockian”? 
I think that anyone who get excited at the idea of consuming media featuring Sherlock Holmes (or any of the many characters derived from his archetype, provided there's awareness of the history there) is a Sherlockian. Some of us are deeper into it than others, and the interests and level of interest of any given Sherlockian will wax and wane over time. But if you love the Great Detective, you're one of us.

How did you become a Sherlockian? 
I had a brief flirtation with Holmesian adaptations when I was a kid (The Great Mouse Detective chief among them) and a definite interest in detective fiction through adolescence and young adulthood (Agatha Christie, Dorothy Gilman's Mrs Pollifax). I remember being so excited when the first Guy Ritchie movie came out, and I dragged my whole family to the theater on Christmas to see it, so I don't suppose I ever stopped being a Sherlockian as defined above. I definitely got more involved when I finally finished up my pesky medical training, which was in the heyday of BBC's Sherlock. So it was a good time to fall deeply back into the hobby/way of life.

What is your favorite canonical story? 
It's always changing. Right now, I'll say "The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire" because there's such a lot of things going on there, including stereotyping of a Peruvian woman who is, ultimately, just trying to save her son without destroying the integrity of her family because of the abhorrent behavior of her husband's son from a previous marriage. Have you seen the Miss Sherlock episode based on it? It's the fourth episode in the first season and it's amazing. I think they do a particularly good job weaving in the impact of women's roles in Japanese society, especially as wives and mothers.

Who is a specific Sherlockian that you think others would find interesting?
I was blown away when I attended a panel featuring Dr. Carlina Maria De La Cova at 221B Con this year. She has a PhD in anthropology and focuses on the effects of marginalization on the health of the human body, especially the skeleton. She teaches a course on the forensics of Sherlock Holmes, which is my jam. In an overwhelmingly white hobby, it's so nice to hear from a brilliant black woman.

What subset of Sherlockiana really interests you? 
Can I tell you a secret? I'm a total Doylist. It's probably because I'm a physician and a writer as well (mostly poetry-- and fan fiction occasionally). I like thinking about Doyle's education and life experience and how it influences how he writes Watson and Holmes. He became kind of a consulting criminologist due to the popularity of his stories, but he had the medical training and kept up with research in medicine and criminology that helped him change the course of at least one criminal case in 1900's Britain.

What things do you like to research related to Sherlock Holmes? 
Anything related to medicine, forensics, or criminology. I've even lured my husband, Bill, into the mix, and whenever we're watching an adaptation, he points out when characters talk about fingerprinting, etc, and asks whether it's chronologically appropriate.

As a fan that came to Sherlockiana from newer avenues, what is the most important aspect of this hobby in your mind?
I'm so interested in how many different adaptations we've been given over the last 140-odd years. I enjoy seeing how far we as fans and creators can push the character. Bend him until he nearly breaks, but if I still feel a Holmesian presence in your work...well...there are truly No Holmes Barred.

Let's say one of your patients is somehow able to travel back to Victorian London.  Would you recommend that they visit Dr. Watson for medical services?
I don't know how well my particular patient population would fare there in general, given I see mostly queer folx and a good number of patients with HIV. Advances in medicine aside (and I expect that Watson was pretty up to date in terms of medical skill, given his work in the military as well as who was writing him), I think the most important skill a doctor can have is empathy. And I believe Dr. Watson has that. Listening and considering the feelings of your patient allows them to open up and you to help as much as possible. Given the compassionate voice Watson employs in the stories and the fact that he seems to thrive in a very Bohemian household with Holmes, I think my LGBT+ patients could definitely do worse than him when seeking care in Victorian London.

What book would you recommend to other Sherlockians? 
In nonfiction, The Scientific Sherlock Holmes by James O'Brien; in fiction, the entire Enola Holmes series by Nancy Springer; in LGBT+ fiction, Hither, Page by Cat Sebastian, a murder mystery set in a small English village just after the end of WWII.

Where do you see Sherlockiana in 5 or 10 years from now? 
There has been a lot of talk recently about making our hobby a safe and fun place for everyone. I sincerely hope that we will continue to grow in diversity (all parts-- gender, age, race, nationality, sexuality) and learn to lift up and really consider what marginalized voices are saying needs to change.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

And You Can Check Me [3STU]

At the beginning of the year, I had 10 Sherlockian resolutions for 2019.  Since we are half way though the year, I figured now is a good time to check my progress.  Looking back on them, I'm pleased with some of my progress, not sure how to accomplish some, and am overall happy to be swimming in Sherlockian waters no matter my progress.

1. Read 20 canonical stories
So far this year, I've read:
The Musgrave Ritual
The Speckled Band
The Red-Headed League
The Crooked Man
The Three Garridebs
The Six Napoleons
The Devil's Foot
The Engineer's Thumb
The Man with the Twisted Lip

So 9.  I'm a little behind pace, but this is one that will be fun to catch up on!

2. Submit an article to the Baker Street Journal
I submitted a piece earlier this year.  The piece was a toast from a scion meeting and the BSJ doesn't publish toasts anymore, so it was a no go.  Oh well, there's always next time...

3. Finish my current Sherlockian book manuscript
I'm making progress on this.  I have finished writing my first draft and am now moving on to editing.  I enjoy editing and revising much more than the writing part, so hopefully I can pick up some momentum with this. 

4. Encourage new leadership in The Parallel Case of St. Louis
This one is hard to quantify.  We have blog posts by individual members happening throughout the year now.  Joe Eckrich wrote about his Sherlockian collection and Stacey Bregenzer posted history of the royal family which were both very well received and very popular.  Holmes in the Heartland is happening again next year, and the planning committee for that is doing some great work right now.  Where do we go from here?  Who knows, but I have great "expectancies for the future"!

5. Encourage St. Louis Sherlockian social interactions
This one was a pretty lofty goal.  Going to have to keep chipping away at this one.

6. Holmes in the Heartland 2020
Oh HELL yeah, this is happening!  Look for the date to be announced next weekend.  We already have some speakers lined up, and the venues are going to be even better than 2018.  I wish I could say more, but I've been sworn to secrecy...

7. Add to the St. Louis Sherlockian Research Collection
We've added a few titles to the collection this year, and I have been given carte blanche to spend money in the Dealer's Room at the Minnesota conference next month.  I'm gonna buy LOTS of books!

8. Get visitors to the St. Louis Sherlockian Research Collection
Nope.  No idea how to do this yet.

9. Use the collection for my own research
I had hoped to spend a day in the Research Collection this summer for some scholarly articles that I've been kicking around.  Unfortunately, my children's book project, Holmes in the Heartland, and another book project I'm working on have taken up most of my Sherlockian research time.  I would love to say that it's still going to happen, but at this point it doesn't look too realistic.

10. Keep blogging!
I almost quit earlier in the year and turned this into a monthly interview blog without my individual posts in between.  But I'm still here.  And enough people read the blog each week that I can justify putting stuff out there.  So to those of you who keep coming back week after week, thanks!  I'll keep coming back each week, too.