It's turning into a working summer for me. Along with the presentation at SOS V, I'm on the calendar to give talks for the Florida Humanities Council and the Polk County Historical Museum (on Civil War topics) and for Bainbridge College in Georgia on the life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. So, as you can imagine, I try to grab spare moments to prep and collect information.
Whenever we take long road trips, my boyfriend and I take turns reading aloud to each other. (How Victorian is that?) With the Doyle lecture in mind, I asked him to read from Daniel Stashower's very well-written biography Teller of Tales. After an hour of following the young Conan Doyle through his adventures in medical school, in the arctic, and on the cruise to Africa, John looks over at me and says, "You know, he's really amazing." (I knew this, of course, but John is not a Sherlockian...yet!)
"Yes," I agreed, "people don't realize what a great life he had, how active he was in so many things. He was a real Renaissance man of the Victorian age."
John grinned at me. "He's like the Dos Equis guy---the most interesting man in the world!"
I think I have my theme for my talk! (And if you're not familiar with those beer ads, you can check them out on Youtube. They always crack me up.) Arthur Conan Doyle will always be special to us as the 'literary agent,' but he saw Holmes as only a small fraction of an active and seriously amazing life. We could all learn a lot from him--from his mistakes as well as his successes---and internalize his ideal of a life well lived.
After all, the more interested we are in the world and in various pursuits, the more interesting we become to others.