My First Book Signing

Steven Deeble signing copies of 'Persistence of Vision'.Last night I had my first book signing at Timeless Pints Brewing Company in Lakewood, California. Two of the bartenders, Ken and Rae, had purchased my book on Amazon and when I was signing them, I got an idea.

“Do you think the owners would consider doing an author event here?”

They said they’d ask and the next day I had the green light.

Timeless Pints is my local. It is a community hub that is family-friendly (Dog-friendly, too). The minute I walked in the place Rae had me in the palm of her hand. I’ve met some cool people there. So when they agreed to host my first book signing, I was thrilled.

Tami Shaikh, an author I met through the Southern California Writer’s Association, gave me some tips on how to set up for Point of Sale transactions and what things I would need to have on hand. My friend Vanessa’s daughter, Judy, handled all my sales. Judy an enterprising, bright, and charming 11 year-old, I just sat next to her and signed books.

Oh, and people bought me beers. That was also pretty great. Lots of people from my high school graduating class came, which was nice. We gave away the first copy as a door prize at our reunion a couple of months ago. Some folks from work came and brought others. Even made a couple of sales to people I didn’t know. The place was packed and everyone had a blast.

As we were about to shut down they got a call from a woman who identified herself as an ex-girlfriend from high school who was on her way but had been stuck in traffic. She asked if I could stay a while. I hadn’t seen Rosella in 40 years. What a trip.

So now I’m working on the next event – a book signing fundraiser for the Historical Society of Long Beach, to be held at the cemetery where they do their annual Halloween tour. I have family buried in that cemetery so I’m really looking forward to it.

‘Persistence of Vision’ Book Signing at Timeless Pints Brewing Company

I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be signing copies of my first novel, ‘Persistence of Vision’, at Timeless Pints Book Signing for 'Persistence of Vision' at Timeless Pints.Brewing Company in Lakewood, California, on Saturday, September 23rd, from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Timeless became my local the minute I walked in the door. Bartenders Ken Jones and Rae Carreiro welcomed me, as did Stacy and Patti. When the book came out, Rae and Ken bought copies and I asked if the owners would consider doing an author event. They asked, and the owners agreed. I am so fortunate.

Rae has booked a Peruvian food truck for the afternoon. Timeless features 13 of their own craft beers that are brewed on-site. Books will be available for purchase and I will be there to sign them. Well, and to drink beer. It’s a brewery, after all.

So come on down and bring your friends and family. There are games for the kids. And beer for the grownups.

Did I mention there will be beer?

My Trip to South Central: Why Black Lives Matter to Me

Why Black Lives Matter to MeIt is 1976.

I am embarrassed to admit this. Mark Walker and I decide to go to a book signing by Alex Hailey, author of ‘Roots’, as a goof. It’s an excuse to ditch school. I never ditch.

Hailey is at the Sears on Crenshaw. We know Crenshaw – it’s right off the 405 freeway in Torrance. We picture some South Bay mall. We exit the 405 and the addresses are way off. We keep driving.

We leave the South Bay, cross Slauson and enter South Central. The Sears store has a line around it, black men and women laden with copies of Hailey’s book.

Did I mention that Mark and I are white? We are from a white neighborhood. The first black family moved in when I was in 6th or 7th grade. Dr. Ira Jones became president of the PTA.

A black colleague describes me as ‘the whitest white guy’ he’s ever met.

Mark and I purchase copies of ‘Roots’ in the store. Hailey sits at a table, takes his time with each person. No stamp. No sticker. He signs every single copy. We go outside and get in line.

The people around us all have plastic trash bags full of books. They average 20 copies. They are getting them signed for their children, for their husbands and wives, for their mothers and fathers, for family members and friends.

We are there all afternoon. We make it around one corner of the building. It is obvious that we are not going to get our copies signed. Then one of our teachers walks past. We aren’t the only ones who ditched school for this. She takes pity on us. Her position in line is now entering the store. She takes our copies, adding them to her own stack.

This past summer there was no ‘Roots’ for black people to embrace. They embraced Black Lives Matter. My white conservative friends point to Jason Riley’s piece in the Wall Street Journal calling it “The great lie of the summer” like they’ve discovered a secret of the Illuminati. He is perhaps the whitest black guy in the country.

He was five the summer of ‘Roots’. I wonder if his mother bought him a copy.

Black Lives Matter

The Day I Became a Writer

WritingMother’s Day, 1986.

Mike Stewart and I are killing time before I head to brunch at my mom’s. Mike and I met working on the newspaper at the local community college. He does the page layouts and design, I take the pictures and write the stories. It’s a good partnership.

We have stopped by his brother’s apartment. They have two young girls, Holly, three, and Allison, two. Allison pushes herself around in a little scooter. Holly is busy at the table. Holly is ALWAYS busy.

Everything in the apartment has a label, written in Crayon, by Holly. She followed the broken guideline in the middle of the label to help her shape the characters. Her parents are doing this to encourage her to read. She is a very smart little toe head in Huggies.

I’ve been here before. Holly’s progress is amazing.

Mike has a Betamax player. He has a Betamax copy of Alan Parker’s film ‘Pink Floyd’s The Wall’. I’ve never seen it. We put it on. It is still the only Betamax videotape I have ever seen.

While we are sitting on the couch watching the movie. I catch little Allison looking at me curiously a couple of times. After a few minutes, she motors across the room. Her strong little legs propel the cart over the carpet. She pulls into the space next to Holly at the table. I catch whispers coming from the two little girls.

“Who is that?” Allison asks Holly. Allison looks over at me.

Holly looks up from her work. I look away quickly.

“Who, him?” I can imagine Holly’s face as she’s saying it. Maybe an eye-roll?

I steal another look.

“Uh, huh.” Allison nods.

“Oh, that’s Steve Deeble.”

I laugh at her matter-of-fact tone.

“He’s a writer.”

I stop laughing. I’m stunned. If I hadn’t already been sitting, I’d have sat.

I started writing screenplays for short films in elementary school. Then I started writing stories. In church school I wrote parables.

I have written press releases that ran in the L.A. Times and other papers. I am freelancing for an advertising agency.

But this is when I see myself as a WRITER.

Scott Wannberg: Mad Roman Candle

Charles Black organized the readings and made the flyers on his computer at work. His was a unique spirit, and he drew poets from across the Westside to this tiny place, where we’d drink Guinness and listen to poetry. And that is how I met the poetic roman candle that was Scott Wannberg.

Scott was a bear with breathing problems. He managed Dutton Books in Brentwood. His hair was always greasy and his gigantic forehead always glistened. He en-THUSED. When Scott was there he was your biggest fan. And we were ALL fans of Scott’s. Inside Scott was a pair of lungs that weren’t up to the challenge and a heart that BEAT.

He was, very simply, the BEST poet. Even with his under achieving lungs, the man would get up with a sheaf of papers and WAIL, his delivery half Television’s jerk, half Ramones rampage. He plowed through poetry that came out of him like the sweat. He was PRO-lific.

Scott loved movies. We were sitting at a table one night during a break, admiring a particularly beautiful cascade on a pint of stout when I mentioned I had studied film in school. I don’t know how it came up, but we discovered that in addition to a common interest in film, we both really, REALLY loved John Frankenheimer’s film ‘The Manchurian Candidate’. Scott got really, REALLY excited and began sweating profusely. We drank Guinness and swapped reasons we loved the film.

I began expounding on one of my favorite scenes. Scott grabbed a steno pad and started writing as I described how Frank Sinatra’s character (Major Marko) first encounters Janet Leigh’s character (Eugenie) on a train. Major Marko is going through a sort of breakdown as the brainwashing he received at the hands of the Communists is leaking into his conscious mind. Leigh watches him as he tries to light a cigarette, only to drop it in his cocktail and flee the compartment for the seclusion of the end of the car. Leigh joins him, speaks to him slowly, pleasantly, as she lights a cigarette for him.

The more I talked, the more excited I became. And the more excited I became, the faster Scott wrote. He gripped the pen like it was trying to get away. They wrestled, filling the page of the steno pad.

“The way she spoke to him, the things she said,” I told him, “and the things he said to her…It was like a rendezvous between two spies, exchanging some complicated set of passcodes in order to establish each other’s credentials.”

Scott tore the page from the steno book. He slid it across the table and took a long drink from his beautifully-cascading stout. I looked at what he had written. It was a poem called ‘Steve’. It was where we were and what was happening around us. I was telling him about ‘The Manchurian Candidate’.

He wrote it in real-time.

In ‘On the Road’, Jack Kerouac wrote:

“…the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!”

Scott was a wonderful man and an amazing poet who Kerouac would have liked, because no one embodied those mad yellow roman candle spider stars more than Scott Wannberg.

Scott Wannberg

Gained in Translation: Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Stanislaw Lem and Umberto Eco

TranslationConsider The Bible.

The first list of books of The Bible was assembled at the Council of Rome in 382 CE. Saint Jerome was commissioned to produce translations of the original Greek and Hebrew texts into Latin, later known as the Latin Vulgate Bible.

I don’t read or write Latin. So I’m reading one of the English translations – The King James Bible, for example. There are approximately 7000 languages in the world today. The Bible has been translated into over 500 of them. According to Wikipedia, there are 120 complete translations in English alone.

That’s a Lot of Translation

According to Yardenne Greenspan, writing in Plowshares at Emerson College, the Hebrew language is profoundly steeped in biblical references, passages and turns of phrase. In her article ‘Out With the Old and in With the Ancient: The Bible as Literature in Translation’, she writes that no other language has so many such allusions.

“When translating Hebrew literature, these allusions would usually be transformed into an equivalent English phrase or slang, whether biblical itself or not. While ‘hoseh shivto sone bno’ would be translated into ‘spares the rod, hates his son’—an accurate translation of the same biblical quote, equal in meaning and awfulness—a phrase like ‘b’rachel bitha haktana’, which originates from the story of Jacob and Rachel and translates literally as ‘in exchange for Rachel, your youngest daughter’ (used in Hebrew as a metaphor for being painstakingly clear about one’s intentions), would probably be translated in the context of a non-biblical story as ‘explicitly’ or ‘no two ways about it’—leaving the matriarch entirely out of it.”

Translating Culture: The Advent of Translation Studies

The challenge of translation transcends merely finding words to replace words. The greatest challenges facing translators occur when language is being pushed to its limits, in poetry and word-play. Translators have been around for centuries, but translation studies as a formal pursuit is still relatively new. In translation studies they talk about the SC and the TC – Source Culture and Target Culture.

In her paper ‘Translating Culture: Problems, Strategies and Practical Realities’, Ana Fernández Guerra wrote about the theory behind translation studies:

“One of the problems a translator can face arises from the fact that some words or phrases denoting objects, facts, phenomena, etc… are so deeply rooted in their source culture (SC) and so specific (and perhaps exclusive or unique) to the culture that produced them that they have no equivalent in the target culture (TC) be it because they are unknown, or because they are not yet codified in the target language (TL).”

Further, some theorists support untranslatability when terms are so culture-bound as to defy translation.

Translation practice and theory have been split. The study of translation (usually literary) saw its origins in comparative literature and has expanded greatly.

In ‘On linguistic aspects of translation’, Russo-American structuralist Roman Jakobson (1896–1982) described categories of translation: ‘The first, intralingual translation, is an interpretation of verbal signs in the same language’.

Consider this expressing a concept ‘in other words’. You are trying to express a concept within the same language, but seeking other words to express the same concept.

The second type is interlingual translation – translation proper. This is the focus of translation studies. The goal of interlingual translation is to achieve “close lexical fidelity” between the SL (Source Language) and the TL (Target Language).

Finally, intersemiotic translation, or ‘transmutation’ – ‘an interpretation of verbal signs by means of signs of non-verbal sign systems’.   Emphasis is on the overall message that needs to be conveyed rather than the ‘words’. Thus the translator, instead of paying attention to the verbal signs, concentrates more on the information that is to be delivered.

Translating Garcia Marquez and the Language of Magic Realism

Gregory Rabassa is referred to as ‘the translator’s translator’. He translated Nobel Prize winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’, ‘Chronicle of a Death Foretold”, and ‘Autumn of the Patriarch’.

The challenge he faced wasn’t so much translating the author’s work from Spanish to English. The challenge was translating the surreal sensibilities of ‘magic realism’. This is a genre in literature and art in which realistic narrative and naturalistic technique combine with fantastic elements of dream.

According to Rabassa, the translator is invisible. The translation never calls attention to itself.

“I am not sure that I have any technique. I certainly have no strategy (I am more of a tactician, if it comes to that) and I am not sure whether I have an approach or not. It is really very simple: I just sit down with paper and a dictionary handy and go to work. About the only preliminary effort expended was a reading of the book. Sometimes this had taken place a while back so that it is all a bit hazy. This might be to the good, if my experience is any example.”

While Rabassa has engaged in convoluted processes involving as many as five drafts back and forth between author and translator, he has also worked quickly and instinctively.

“I must confess, and I have confessed to Julio (Cortazar), that I translated Hopscotch as I read it. I did have to go back and change some things, but only a snippet here and there, nothing important. I think that this bears out my contention that a translation is nothing but a close reading, perhaps the closest reading possible. When I do a book I go along as fast as I can, trying to get the meaning down so that I can use this first draft with confidence. If a phrase resists me I put it down in some awkward but accurate form to be dealt with later. More to give myself a break in routine than anything else (although it enables me to ship chunks of translation off to the author periodically), I will stop after twenty or thirty pages of manuscript text and go back over it for the re-write.”

Translating the Poetic Science Fiction of Stanislaw Lem

Michael Kandel has translated the Polish author Stanislaw Lem’s work and has received accolades for his abilities with the difficult material.

Writer and Editor Franz Rottensteiner described Kandel’s work:

“The quality of his translations is considered to be excellent; his skill is especially notable in the case of Lem’s writing, which makes heavy use of wordplay and other difficult-to-translate devices.”

As with Rabassa struggling with Magic Realism, Kandel’s greatest challenge translating Lem’s writing was the totally original and complex universes Lem conceived and described.

Kandel, a fan of science fiction, explains how he approached this aspect of translating Lem, as well as the work of other authors.

“Well, if you know that this happens in science fiction, then it’s not so strange and you don’t have a problem with it at all—in fact, it’s almost easier to make up words because you know how to do that, to come up with something that corresponds to what the author’s made up.”

Kandel described the frustration of finding so many words he didn’t know when reading an early Lem novel.

“The first book I read in Polish that was SF was Lem’s The Invincible, and I really had a hard time getting through it. I thought it was a great book, but I spent a lot of time looking through the dictionary, and later someone told me, those words aren’t in any Polish dictionary!”

Relay Translation vs. Direct Translation

According to the blog ‘Life in Translation’, one of Lem’s most famous novels was once only available in poorly translated versions.

“Now it turns out that the only available English version of Stanisław Lem’s 1961 Polish science fiction novel Solaris had been relay translated from a poor French version. The Guardian reports that a new direct translation by Bill Johnston has just been published which ‘removes a raft of unnecessary changes and restores the text much closer to its original state’.”

Umberto Eco Translates Himself

Umberto Eco’s work, both fiction and non-fiction, has been translated from Italian into many languages. In addition to writing extensively on semiotics, the language of symbols, he has written several novels, including ‘The Name of the Rose’ and ‘Foucault’s Pendulum’.

Eco has written extensively about his experiences with the translation of his work, and the phenomenon of translation in general. In his book ‘Experiences in Translation’, Eco expresses a similar notion to the one presented earlier by Michael Kandel.

Matteo Poles, writing about one of Eco’s speeches on the website Terminology Coordination, describes Eco’s observations about translations and translators:

“He (Eco) concludes that even though the Italian translator failed the translation, a reader, even though not so experienced and skilled, will always perceive the ‘world’ of the book. Eco states that in his search for the perfect translation he first tried to use images taken from his own cultural world and only afterwards he counted on his linguistic knowledge, in order to verify if the pun can have an equivalent in Italian.”

Eco enumerates his ‘commandments’ for translation:

“A translation, Eco states as a first commandment, is not simply the comprehension and an interpretation of a text. Second rule, an interpretation introduces us to multiple possible “worlds”: an idea that Eco, as semiotics professor, had always underlined in his essays. Third, in the translation of a book it seems legitimate to violate some rules in order to produce the same effect the original author intended.”

Eco provides an additional rule: the translation can be more complex than the original text.

He points out that in Italian there is only a word for the concept of nephew, while in English we could have niece, nephew, grandson or granddaughter, which define more precisely the family relationships and the sex of the person.

#TBT When Bibliophiles Divorce

BooksFive minutes ago.

I am separating our books. We have been together for 12 years. We are both avid readers. We both had book collections. I had lots of shelves (IKEA!). I cleared books to make room for hers. Over the years our books intermingled on the shelves.

Amazon got a lot of business from us. So did the local used book stores. We saw ‘No Country for Old Men’ and read Cormac McCarthy’s book, weird punctuation and all. She wanted to read more. I got her everything he’d written up to that point for her birthday.

We had more books, but our youngest dog destroyed over a shelf’s worth.

She reads more than I do. She can read with the television on. They say that’s one of the differences between men and women. Reading is meditation for me. Sometimes I get into a book and want to take the ride straight through. I write. I savor words. Not that she doesn’t.

She always retains more than I do, even when she WAS watching television at the same time she was reading.

Saturday and Sunday mornings were spent reading and drinking coffee in bed, surrounded by the menagerie we affectionately referred to as ‘The Nature Channel’.

She can walk away from a book if she isn’t into it. I have a harder time doing that. So I’m more selective in what I read. I made a reading list for 2016 instead of New Year’s resolutions. She’ll go to a bookstore and just look at books, read the blurbs, looking for something interesting. And she always finds great stuff. I have a master plan that includes reading some books a second or third time.

She’s introduced me to so many new authors. I’m leaving her all the Michael Chabon, except for the book she gave me – at the end. Chabon’s comic book super hero. I haven’t been able to bring myself to read it yet.

I separate my books into keepers or donations to a book bank. As I pull volumes from the shelves I find old bookmarks and faded receipts.

I find a half-dozen Valentines, and several Anniversary cards pressed between the books.

I’m only half done.

Philip K. Dick and Stanislaw Lem: They Might Be (Literary) Giants

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I do not consider myself a fan of science fiction, but please don’t hold that against me. I’m not a genre reader – I read good writing, in all its forms. I have read some of the classics, like ‘Fahrenheit 451’, ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’…I’m already reaching.sphere-163623_1280

As it happens, two of my favorite writers are considered to be writers of science fiction. Stanislaw Lem wrote many books, and some of them deal with astronauts and space travel. But what attracts me to Lem’s work is the psychology of his stories and characters. Lem began writing ‘science fiction’ because the communist regime didn’t take it seriously. He could express ideas in that genre that would have been censored or gotten him imprisoned. Lem’s book ‘The Chain of Chance’ features a former astronaut as it’s protagonist, but his mission is to find out whether a colleague’s fall from a window here on Earth was murder or suicide. Lem’s ‘Solaris’ has been made into feature films twice (Once in the USSR by Andrei Tarkovsky (The ‘other’ great science fiction film of the late ‘60s with Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey’) and more recently in the U.S. by Steven Soderbergh).

Philip K. Dick is better known to the general public, since several of his books have been made into feature films (Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, based on Dick’s ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep’ is perhaps most well known). Most recently, Amazon Video produced a series based on the Hugo Award-winning novel ‘The Man in the High Castle’. Dick also aspired to write beyond the genre, even going so far as to say he didn’t care if it took him 30 years to achieve any success at it. ‘The Man in the High Castle’ is the perfect example. The book is an alternate history of the United States, positing what might have happened had the Axis forces won World War II and taken over our country as the spoils of war.

These two writers have some other things in common, not the least of which (To me) is that I had ‘Ships passing in the night’ experiences with both men. In the late ‘70s I wrote for the student newspaper at the community college I attended in Long Beach, California. During our Thursday afternoon review of the week’s issue I discovered a small story about Lem visiting classes on campus. Lem was from Poland and his opportunities to travel outside the country were few. That a door had opened in the Iron Curtain allowing him to briefly come to my town on the other side of the world was a miracle. But, like I said…ships in the night.

After college I lived in Tustin, in Orange County, California (Fans of ‘Lost’ will know this as the location of John Locke’s box factory). I learned after I’d moved that Phil Dick had lived right around the corner from me and I didn’t even know it. I could have stopped by his apartment on my way to get a Slurpee at the 7-11. If only I’d known who he was then.

Rick Kleffel, of the Agony Column (www.agonycolumn.com), introduced me to these and many other excellent writers. I’ve been an avid reader since childhood, but Rick has helped direct my exploration of both literature and film). If you ever see me in the science fiction aisle of your used book store, Phil Dick and Stanislaw Lem are the reasons I am there.

In addition to my reading, I also like to research the artists, writers, filmmakers, and musicians/composers who have inspired and influenced me. I was very surprised to discover that there was a connection between the two writers of which I had been totally unaware.

Apparently Lem had high regard for Dick’s writing and had been responsible for getting some of Dick’s work translated and published in Poland. He also made sure that Dick was paid, albeit nominally, for the work.

Those familiar with Dick’s history of mental health know that – he had issues. He made the aluminum foil hat, but he made his with a satellite dish in order to receive the communications. This became the subject of the ‘Valis Trilogy‘, which is Dick turning his mind inside out.

To learn that Dick had issues with Lem wasn’t so surprising. Dick came to believe that he was being shorted on his royalties from the Polish editions and he blamed Lem. In fact he didn’t believe that Lem was a person at all. He had come to the conclusion that Lem was a facade for a committee of the Communist Party bent on mind control, even going so far as to write a letter to the FBI stating this.

For more information on Stanislaw Lem, visit his official website at www.lem.pl. For more information on Philip K. Dick, put on your aluminum foil satellite dish. His official site has shut down and the domain is for sale. But check out www.philipkdickkfans.com for discussion forums and updates on all things Dick.

On Sharing Sherlock

Sherlock Holmes By Michael Stewart

Sherlock Holmes By Michael Stewart

My weekend ritual used to be making the circuit of the used bookstores in downtown Long Beach.  On one trip I discovered a collection of the Sherlock Holmes short stories.  I showed it to the woman at the counter who owned the shop.

“It’s a facsimile edition,” she told me.  “They reprinted the stories and illustrations as they originally appeared in The Strand Magazine.”

I was thrilled by my find, and produced my checkbook and ID.  She waved off the license as I slid the check across the counter.

“Really?” I asked.  “You don’t need to see my drivers license?”

She smiled.  “You’re buying a Sherlock Holmes book.  How bad can you be?”

I was in elementary (!) school when I read my first Holmes story.  It was ‘The Adventure of the Red Headed League’.   The summer I entered ninth grade I read the 56 short stories and four novels in a two-volume set called “The Annotated Sherlock Holmes”.  Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce thrilled me on Sunday afternoons, in a series of old Universal films that shifted Holmes slightly ahead in time from the original stories and novels in order that he might stand against the Nazis.

As an adult, I enjoyed Jeremy Brett’s portrayal of Holmes in the Granada Television production.  With all respect due Rathbone, to me, Jeremy Brett will always be the Holmes.  And if you get that reference, then you’re part of a special group of people who are passionate fans of the greatest literary detective, and the most loved character in all of Western literature.

Only now there seems to be a lot more of us.  There has been a tremendous increase in interest in all things Holmes as a result of the terrific series ‘Sherlock’ airing on the BBC in Great Britain and on PBS in the states.  Robert Downey Jr. has appeared in two recent features as Holmes.  I must admit I was a little worried when I heard about the deluge of Holmes projects, especially the modern updates.  But I’m very happy with the BBC series (And enjoyed the first of Downey’s films).

Of course a trip to the Sherlock Holmes Museum was mandatory on my London itinerary.  The sign on the door says 221B but it’s not really the address.  That’s the name of the corporation that runs the museum, a period reproduction of the rooms of the world’s first consulting detective.  One of the odd things about Holmes is how many people believe he was a real person (The Royal Mail Service began delivering Holmes’ mail to a bank just down Baker Street practically from the character’s inception).

And when Arthur Conan-Doyle decided to do away with his character, he discovered that Holmes was so highly regarded that ten years after his fall at Reichenbach, people still hounded him to bring Holmes back.  And Doyle did.

I was beside myself as I mounted the stairs and climbed to the sitting room.  There was the Persian slipper stuck to the mantle with a letter opener.  Bullet holes in the wall outlined the initials ‘V.R.’  The picture of Reichenbach Falls over the mantle.

I signed the large ledger used as a guest book, noting line after line of names and addresses from around the world.  I wondered how many people came each year and flipped pages to the front of the volume to get an idea.  The ledger was not for the year – it was for the month.

Which is by way of saying that I’ve really been sharing Sherlock all along.