Review: The Progress of Sherlock Holmes - Ivy Blossom

Fan Fiction Review:
The Progress of Sherlock Holmes by Ivy Blossom.
Hosted on AO3.

When I was living at Baker St once more, after my second marriage, I often came home to find Sherlock unmoved from his position that morning, or gone for long periods of time during which I heard not a single word from him. I worried as I used to, but soon remembered my old habits and did not expect to dine with him on any given night. He would make his dramatic reappearance when he could. Although, Sherlock was happy to fold me into his cases where he could, but my schedule did not often permit it. Indeed, in our chase across Europe for an individual who stole a certain object of whom and of which I am not yet allowed to speak publicly about, I was left with many hours to catch up on at the practice. How I long for the days of yore when doctors could hand their practices off for a day or so.

But Sherlock continued on, with or qithout his blogger, and one afternoon I came from a long day at the practice, and found Sherlock still in his dressing gown, a cheery fire fighting off the first frost that year, reading from a laptop balanced on his knees. My first impression was that the hearth probably hadn't seen a fire since before the Iraq War, but succeeded by frustration at the general disorder Sherlock had left untended, dissipating almost instantly when he muttered the smallest noise: 'Hmm.'

I'd known Sherlock to sit in silence when presented with a new case and decided to leave him to his thoughts. I proceeded to make the quietest cup of tea possible, but interrupted his reverie none-the-less.

"Wouldn't you like to know what I've been reading?" His eyes sparkled in that way of his, and I told him I would. "We've become players in an online drama," he said, his eyes diverting back to the laptop's screen. "The Progress of Sherlock Holmes."

I continued to stand by the counter and asked if he would like some tea. "How can you ask - tea? Full strength, please." I obliged.

"So, are they attempting to solve you, turn you into a mundane like the rest of humanity?" I brought the tea to the sofa, "She's not in love with you, is she?" I sighed, "poor girl."

"Just have a skim," he said, and I bent to read over his shoulder. I don't remember exactly what the text was, only that Sherlock was injured and had Tchaikovsky in his head. "I don't love Tchaikovsky," I balked and he snickered, "do I?" He conceded: "you seem to like everything, except Mozart. But no, I don't think you've ever said you love Pyotr." I continued reading and then froze. "Is it another romance?" His reply was curt and affirmative. I took the laptop from him and began to scroll through the thing, taking in Mary's name used so casually, and sat there in disbelief, looking from Sherlock, sipping his tea contentedly and back to the mass of text before me.

"Interesting, isn't it. Almost true to life." It wasn't a question.

"But this isn't true at all!" I objected.

His eyebrows rose in amazement, "Yes, but isn't that the point in fiction? It's elaborate and colorful lies, the conceit is that there is any truth in it at all."

"You sound like a fifteen year old girl, here."

"Perhaps I am, emotionally. Also, I am a virgin 'here', so perhaps there is a parallel."

"You don't give yourself enough credit." I continued to scroll.

"What about the cocaine."

"What about it?"

"What do you think."

I huffed. "Written by someone who has read about substance abuse online or in school?" I offered. He snorted: "Abuse." I fixed him a look. He slurped his tea loudly.

"I don't find your portrayal as sympathetic as you are in real life, but close," he said softly.

"Pardon?" He began to repeat his words, but I cut him off, "I heard what you said."

He paused before speaking again, finally saying, "you are even more companionable a person, and sympathetic a friend than the public could ever guess."

I began to speak, but he interrupted my appreciation. "I don't think I would act like that if I were to fall in love with you, though. Although I might, I've never given it much thought."

"Well," I fiddled with my tea, a bit annoyed at that point, "how would you call it true to life then?"

He wove his hand, "in the abstract, John." He settled the cup down and turned to me. The laptop felt a bit like a shield from his intense stare. "Our friendship has been invaluable to me."

"Yes, but not like this." I was exasperated. He rolled his eyes. "Obviously. But doesn't it intrigue you?" I turned away just as his put his face near mine. The seconds ran on in silence, the fire cracked away.

"Sherlock." I spoke calmly, awaiting explanation. His big nose was close to my cheek and I could hear the air whistling through nasal passages.

"John," was his reply. "Am I bothering you?"

"Doubtless it's another experiment." I cleared my throat and waited. He squinted at me, "you grow increasingly adept."

"Thank you." I repaid the compliment with a smile.

"It's promising... and yet irritating, somehow." He stood from the sofa and left. I smiled for my own enjoyment then, perhaps a little too pleased with myself, and contemplated the eternal debate between Ethiopian and Spanish take-out. I bowed my head and conceded, there's always curry.

213,458 words. Archive of Our Own. 22nd March 2011.

Autumnal Explorations

I realize I have one not-even-really-a-review sitting between this editorial and the last 'news' update, but I hope you'll forgive me. My review of Off-Topic was meant to be entertaining. I was inspired to contribute to that book and wrote the review the way I did because it's what I've always loved about Goodreads. Enough has been said on this blog about that topic already, but I'm hoping you'll enjoy it if my future reviews are more creative. I'm not working for the New York Book Review, after all, why do I have to follow a formula?

Liz Worth said in that Q&A I shared, and I'm paraphrasing, 'it's a shame that the people you see at a gallery opening are not the same ones you see at a concert or a book signing'. But why not? I'm interested in books, travel and tea, and these often intertwine. The music I listen to is in part inspired by the places I want to travel. I want to travel to those places I've read about, where I hear the tea is fabulous. My writing is inspired by the the things I listen to, so why not post about that, too? I'm pretty into translating more books into English because we have over 200 languages on this planet and lots of people read English as a second language.

Tea break under a glacier by Gilda (fairlybuoyant) CC BY-SA 2.0
It was unbelievably cold and these guys were just sitting down having yak butter tea.
I have a languishing travel blog and also write somewhat regularly on Lang-8, a social network focused on correcting blogs written in your native language while you practice the languages you are learning. I never blogged about tea because I didn't have enough to say. 

My latest blogging endeavor is linked to NaNoWriMo. On November 1st I decided to start a whole new project, without outline or any plan, and started posting a webserial called Bear's Claw, NY. It has evolved over the weekend into a young adult dramedy set in a school eerily similar to the one I attended for thirteen years. I'm a little cautious about deciding who ends up with who, but I've got one relationship underway, have one crush established, and am working on blossoming two more. But if anybody breaks up or makes up is unknown to me. Since I'm posting it as I'm write it, I'm hoping you'll chime in and tell me your thoughts. I'd like it if this could be interactive, based on your suggestions and interpretations.

I'm currently reading the second of Patricia Brigg's Mercy Thompson novels, Blood Bound and am going to be posting a review of the first, Moon Called, and Ruby Red (Rubinrot) by Kerstin Gier soon. John and Sherlock from Sherlock on BBC will soon be riffing about a Fan Fic in which they fall in love called The Progress of Sherlock Holmes by Ivy Blossom. I'm a big fan of the classic stories, so I hope you enjoy my homage. Today I got my first proof copy of Off-Topic: The Story of an Internet Revolt in the mail today - very exciting. Nora Olsen just posted on facebook that her next book, Frenemy of the People is coming out in May 2014, I'm really looking forward to reading it. I've also learned that an old classmate of mine is currently living in Amsterdam! I'll have to go see her and Van Gogh, I guess.
There probably won't be any Yak Butter Tea in the near future, but I hope to add a little more variety to my book blog.

Review: Off-Topic - G. R. Reader

It was overwhelming chaos that met Kara Erickson's announcement on the 21st of September, 2013. Tensions have been high since April, when uncertainty of the future began to stain our horizons following the acquisition by Amazon. I don't think anyone was quite prepared for the reckoning with which Mr. Reader's first words, under a different name, began to appear on the internet. To say, Mr. Reader, that you were a harbinger of doom, would be giving you far too much credit. But a storm did break when you appeared on the scene, perhaps you would agree that you are bad news: that you are somewhat unscrupulous and prone to consuming far more Coffea arabica than is wholesome. Unwed women - and men, for that matter - would be best kept away from you, lest you poison their minds with your wildly disproportionate ideas of social justice and free speech. I will allow this much sentiment to shine through: were it not for your first foray into the world of authorial misconduct on October 12th, we might not have known what to do with the swell of creativity on our shores of the prior few weeks and months.

I find myself changed in the aftermath of your book being published, Mr. Reader; perhaps it was the long nights, the legal team you had working around the clock, the untrained monkey who did relentless searches for images in the creative commons or your sock puppets. Whether this is an improvement upon my state or not, I will let my therapist decide.

Mr. Reader, I would like to interject a quote from the annals of British parliament, from Winston Churchill himself, in a speech given in the House of Commons on the 10th of December, 1936.
"Nothing is more certain or more obvious than that recrimination or controversy at this time would be not only useless but harmful and wrong. What is done is done. What has been done or left undone belongs to history, and to history, so far as I am concerned, it shall be left."
We should have been unlucky to remember these words one score and two days ago when your labor began, Mr. Reader. Due to impropriety and pretension on, I'll admit it, all our parts, you have curated a mixed bag of trophies and truffles, almost all easily found elsewhere, written by internet-famous personages, impeccably organized and with not enough run on sentences, and I cannot, in good conscience, rate it less than five stars. (Did not you yourself suggest in a drunken stupor that we rate books on a curve, Mr. Reader?)

Congratulations on your birth, I will send a baby shower gift with the next messenger pigeon, provided my copy of the book, ordered from, arrives unscathed. Further, I will recommend my friends share the book freely as you so eloquently suggested in your email of the 3nd of November, 2013, received at 3:41 in the morning. Mr. Reader, you will forever live in infamy thanks to the toiling efforts of men and women (and monkeys) across the globe: I hope to God you can live with what you have done.

A Message from Mr. Reader's Untrained Monkey: The book can be found for free by those as unscrupulous as I [The Monkey] and could not be sold on Lulu's servers for less than the given price. This is a tragedy of the capitalistic world we live in, but one which one as unscrupulous as I [The Monkey] can benefit [buy more bananas].

Mr. Reader himself has declined to comment. Considering the barrage of emails I was receiving from him as recently as two hours ago, it is in keeping with his character. I also seem to have run out of bananas.

Too Long; Didn't Read 
Mr. Reader is a biased editor who is overly fond of Greek legends; his opinions are one-sided, his taste is common and he did not pay me!