It’s been a few days and I’m still reeling from the pain of our loss. It is hard to get one’s equilibrium back in this sort of situation. One thing that haunts me terribly is that our dear Don Libey was apparently anxious over the fate of the John H Watson Society while in the hospital. He loved the society so much and he did everything he could over the years to make it a warm and welcoming corner of the virtual world. So even as things were not going well for him, he still thought of us and the community he built for us with such affection and care.
I wish I were there at that moment in time to convince him that everything would be alright for the JHWS. I wish I could have had a way to set his mind at ease – that I could show him the proof of my vow with solid, undeniable evidence as Sherlock Holmes would do for Dr. Watson whenever in doubt of the truth. Since I couldn’t be there to do that for Don, I feel strongly obligated to do the next best thing for him: Make certain the JHWS will turn out alright.
Shortly after the devastating news reached me on Sunday, I began a discussion about the JHWS with Don’s dear friend, Bob Katz “Willow.” He explained to me that Don had been thinking about passing on the torch of leadership for some time now and had been hoping for someone to take up the moniker “Buttons II” to continue the legacy of his work.
Unfortunately, there is one clear fault in this plan: no one else could be a “Buttons.” There’s only one true “Buttons” and that will always be so. I can imagine no one else who could match the enthusiasm, love and dedication that Don Libey offered to the John H Watson Society every day since its inception. This is a fact I believe we must accept.
Yet there is one other fact that we must not overlook: Our “Buttons” had a knack for gathering talented and enthusiastic people together. He could see the special qualities in a person’s spirit and draw it out of them with warmth, encouragement, and inspiration. As a result of his innate skill, I believe that the John H Watson Society is composed of some of the most talented, driven, and inspired individuals I have ever had the pleasure to encounter.
One person cannot be to the JHWS the same as Don Libey was and always will be to the JHWS. However, when we band together as a community, we become everything that our dear “Buttons” stood for and thus become a reflection of all that he wished the JHWS to represent.
By continuing the John H Watson Society, we would allow it to keep flourishing beyond all expectations. In doing so, I believe we can show any who encounter our society what a good man our Buttons was and how lucky we were to know him.
Now, the question is… how do we do this? It is one thing to say “we can continue” but it is another thing altogether to get up and do so. Buttons took on so many roles and accomplished so many tasks, that no one else can fit that much into their schedule easily. Yet as a community, as a Society, I believe this is a goal we can achieve together.
So, with the blessing of Bob Katz “Willow” and our dear Andrea Stewart “Asta,” I will do whatever I can to coordinate the John H Watson Society. I won’t be a true “Buttons II,” as I don’t have the talent nor the skill. Please consider me as “Carla Buttons” instead. I cannot create quizzes, act as treasurer, or perform many other tasks that need to be done, but I can organize people and I can design the journal… so that’s what I’ll do for the JHWS. I’ll act as the main switchboard, a fixed point to turn to for questions, suggestions, ideas, and feedback.
The Watsonian will continue. The details for future volumes will need time to sort out, but the April volume will go to the printers without any problems. Also, I’ve seen the printed editions of the new Fiction Series and the latest edition to The Monograph Series, which just arrived from the printers this week, and I think they both turned out rather well.
I’ll finish the design and layout of the April 2015 edition of The Watsonian in a few weeks – it’s quite a hefty volume, full of amazing contributions and one of Buttons’ finest editorial accomplishments as far as I’m concerned. Once The Watsonian is submitted to the printers in early April, both The Watsonian and The Fiction Series will be sent to every member’s doorstep. The Monograph Series will also be available soon, so keep your eyes peeled for an announcement here in a week or so.
The entire working structure of the John H Watson Society is still in the process of forming, but I’m happy to announce a few who have officially taken up specific roles:
Andrea Stewart “Asta” shall continue to handle the treasury, which she is currently managing quite admirably. I have no words for how amazing she is to do this both for her beloved Don Libey and for the sake of the JHWS.
Beth Gallego “Selena” will continue to maintain and care for the website, as our lovely and talented Victorian Webmistress.
Margie Deck “Gwen” will host this year’s Annual International Treasure Hunt, because she is both devious and incredible. She has also taken to calling me “TheBiB,” due to that aforementioned devious streak.
Denny Dobry “Kirby” shall be
our Eminent Supreme Exalted Grand High Master of Inquisition (wait a second… what?) our gracious Quizmaster. We’ll work out the details and regularity of new brilliant quizzes to challenge your mind, so please anticipate seeing them in the near future.
There are several other tasks and necessary roles which I shall address in the coming weeks, so I will announce any and all news here on site whenever I can.
It’s quite obvious at this point that I wish to ask for volunteers to keep the John H Watson Society active and enjoyable. Indeed, quite a few generous people have already reached out to offer use of their time and talents without any reservation. However, I am not here to ask each of you for all of your time and all of your talents. Instead, I ask that each of you take time to reflect and consider what you would like to share of yourself with the Society: perhaps a haiku about 221B, perhaps a monthly update of interesting Sherlockian & Watsonian news, perhaps a word of good advice, perhaps photos of a trip to London, perhaps an essay pertaining to bowler hats… it really could be anything!
Whatever comes to mind, never hesitate to send anything to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
If everyone here offers a little bit of themselves to share, then slowly but surely the JHWS will continue to flourish and it remain a place to visit with irregular regularity for new posts, new discussions, and a shared affection for Dr John H Watson.
Just as our “Buttons” would have it: We can but try.
With great affection,
The Boy in Buttons