Discover more from active rewriting
Hi there, it's been a while. How are you?
Bangalore has been laced with thunderstorms all month, and somehow July has been, in equal parts - reaching out and staying lost. And I guess that's okay, our personalities are often bundles of singularities and commonalities, aren't they?
I started re-watching Elementary (an American re-imagining of Sherlock's chronicles), picking episodes at random, something I do to feel either deeply engaged with something interesting, or completely disengage with whatever remains of my 24 hours.
In my favorite episode, Watson (a female Watson!) asks Sherlock if they both are cut off from the world because neither of them dates or goes out much. To which Sherlock responds:
"We’re not cut off from the world. We’re engaged in creating one that’s actually worth living in. One that addresses our needs entirely, and eliminates everything extraneous. I’ve lived most of my life with the firm conviction that romantic love is a delusion. It’s a futile hedge against the existential terror that is our own singularity. Then I met someone who calls herself Irene Adler, and that forced me to reexamine those convictions. She, of course, turned out to be a criminal.”
Joan: "Never really discussed how that made you feel.”
Sherlock: "I feel liberated. I am, now and forever, post-love. And, as such, I’m free to pursue a life of meaning.”
Joan: “In other words, you plan on arguing on the Internet all night?”
But as Watson leaves, Sherlock turns to a letter Moriarty has written to him and reads as under:
"For a long while now, I’ve suspected that connection with another person, real connection, simply isn’t possible. I’m curious if you disagree, although I suspect you feel as I do in this, as you do in so many other things. So tell me: Is it possible to truly know another person? Is it even a worthwhile pursuit? Yours is the only opinion I’ll trust, the only point of view that holds even the faintest interest. I find my diversions, as I always do, but the days are long in this gray place. I dearly hope you’ll write soon. Ever yours, Jamie Moriarty."
I relayed this to some close friends of mine, and received wonderful responses, the most notable of which was that of my sister -
"I am afraid I don't find Sherlock's stance sincere, and perhaps that's why his reasoning doesn't have a strong foundation. His opinion stems from a place of contempt. He fell in love and reexamined the human endeavor's connections with singularity. He then found out that she was a criminal. So? He was deceived in the choice, but not in the experience. My sense is that the feeling of betrayal is shackling. He mistakes it for post-love and says he feels liberated. It seems to me that he is in denial.
Anyhow, I am convinced that the objective (and the beauty) of the human experience is to transact in emotions with one another. We are not inherently good or bad, but complex. We need each other - the romance, the heartbreak, the validation, the respect, the stability, the promise.. it enhances the human experience. And none of this is a compromise of individuality. I have thought, and personally experienced, this conflict for a few years now."
I agree with her stance on Sherlock, although on days the heart is freshly broken, it seems easier to latch on to a post love mentality. But the idea of post-love isn't sustainable (unless you're a sociopath), and I imagine this is why Sherlock is still writing to the woman who betrayed him. Love keeps us going, and love makes the going worth it - on some days we dismiss this cliche, but most days we are the cliche.
So on days you find yourself regressing to the convenience of a post-love narrative, know that perhaps it is modified language for your personal emotional rehab - where you are both the wound and the hands that mend it.
So that was me semi-intellectualizing a semi-intellectual TV show to feel better about the time I wasted on it.
In related reading, my friend sent me this Tumblr post discussion on how Irene Adler was written by Doyle as a character smarter than Sherlock but every modern retelling not only has her be a sexual /love interest character + she’s never able to outsmart him.
In other news, Jaden Smith released ERYS( personal favorite - Summertime in Paris and/or Again) and closer to home, Ditty debuted Poetry Ceylon (personal favorite - Deathcab and/or food city), and I highly recommend you check it out.
And if you feel like it, here's a poem for you:
“this is my day off
& having already lost a beautiful string of lettering that had formed into a poem i should take the day off these days
lost poems remain lost
a requiem to one is the best i can do"
Excerpt From Juliane Okot Bitek's "Sublime Lost Words"
Lastly, in recommended reading:
Illustrator Imagines A World Where Gentle Giant Animals Live Among Humans
^ Never before have I so deeply wanted to live in the world of someone’s artwork. Those pictures with the human just burying their entire upper body in the floof, they speak to me on a spiritual level.