If the Sherlockian world of Zoom has a mascot, my vote would go to Sandy Kozin. This unassuming senior citizen harbors a secret addiction: Internet Sherlockiana. Sandy started out as a Sherlockian that many of us know: she was happy attending her local and regional Sherlockian events. But then more connectivity presented itself. Along the way, she started participating in listservs. And then Zoom meetings. And podcasting.
And Sandy isn't just a fly on the wall in these areas. If you've been on a Zoom meeting in the past year and a half, you know she is happy to join in any conversation and she knows her stuff. And her limerick game is so spot-on that you can see them on The Hounds of the Internet and hear them on The Watsonian Weekly. For a lady who says she's not very technologically adept, she sure does have quite a presence!
How do you define the word "Sherlockian" ?
It's more of a self-defined word. If you like Sherlock Holmes and have a continuing interest in anything about him, you would be a Sherlockian. If you like others who like Sherlock Holmes and want to spend time with them, you are more involved Sherlockian.
How did you become a Sherlockian?
I had always loved the Rathbone movies and stayed up many a night watching one. When my parents moved, my father gave me his two-volume Annotated, which I read cover to cover before shelving. But I didn't do much else. However, I knew Tom and Dorothy Stix socially. Tom insisted I come to a meeting of Mrs. Hudson's Cliffdwellers at his home. I liked the bright, funny, interesting people, and I did fairly well on the quiz, an ego-booster. As time went on, I attended more meetings, then other meetings of other local groups I heard about. I liked Holmes; I liked the people, so I was a Sherlockian.
What was your profession and does that affect how you enjoy being a Sherlockian?
Mostly I was an at-home mother; the occasional jobs I took were not a profession and had no relevance at all to the Master.
What is your favorite canonical story?
It can vary, but (ho-hum), it's probably HOUN.
Who is a specific Sherlockian that you think others would find interesting?
Almost every Sherlockian is interesting in one way or another, and the answer has changed over time, but right now I'd say Steve Mason would be a great guy to get to know. He runs a terrific scion, does so much more for the Sherlockian world, is smart, funny, welcoming, helpful, patient, and has figured out how he's going to have both a virtual and face-to-face scion when the time comes!
What subset of Sherlockiana really interests you?
I came for Holmes; I stayed for the people. I love the variety, the breadth of knowledge, and the wit I find in any group. These are good people. I grew up in New York City and have often told people that a Sherlockian meeting was the only place I'd use my purse as a seat marker and wander around a big room without any worry at all.
I can't even begin to count the number of Sherlockian limericks you've produced over the years. How do you boil the stories down into such pithy rhymes?
When I was quite young, my parents gave me a book of Lear's limericks, which I read and read and read and read. The form got imprinted on my brain. Practice helps, but like anything else, some people "hear" the form, and some don't. As for boiling down, I suspect that most non-Sherlockians would find them skimpy indeed, but I find it great fun to do them, so I keep doing them.
As an active member of The Hounds of the Internet and many Zoom meetings, why do you think Sherlockiana works so well on the Internet?
#1 - It's easy. Turn on a computer, get comfy, and go spend time with some wonderful people.
#2 - No travel, no expense. I'm going to meetings across the country and locally with no traffic and parking problems and no time wasted en route.
#3 - I get to see people I'd never see otherwise and some I met years ago who live distances and even time zones away.
#4 - Maybe the most significant: What Sherlockians do, by and large, is exchange ideas, about the Canon and much else. So all that's needed is a way to let people convey their ideas to one another, and the internet allows and encourages that. We can't play tennis on Zoom, but we can and do have lots of fun with verbal volleys.
What book would you recommend to other Sherlockians?
Re-read the Canon. After that, it depends on what you like.
Where do you see Sherlockiana in 5 or 10 years from now?
I think the internet will have a strong continuing effect. There will still be in person meetings, but more and more they will find a way to make them hybrid, so those interested in a group from far away can enjoy part of a meeting. Some event or other will bring in new, younger members, as happens periodically, and those busy young people will find ways to join together that suit them. I can't imagine what, but then until I got Zoom, I had no idea such a thing had uses outside the business world.