The inspiration for Sherlock Holmes was Dr. Joe Bell. He had the ability to correctly diagnose his patients with just one look (plus their profession and where they lived.) Professor Challenger was based on a man of his day, also. The larger-than-life explorer and bravura scientist who knew in his bones that man could travel to the centre of the earth, find dinosaurs, and return to tell the tale. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had some amazing professors at Edinburgh Medical.
What he did with what he was given, to me is proof that our life choices may not always be what we originally intended. Sometimes it seems like nothing we planned is going right. How could our plans fail?
Doyle was supposed to be studying in that medical school, but it turned out that it wasn’t to become a doctor that he was there. It was to be impressed by the phenomenal characters he experienced at that time and place, and to share them with the world in a way that they would go on and on.
Maybe we are like Conan Doyle? Maybe we are here, there, for another reason? If we think we are failing, think again and look around.
When Dr. Bell looked out into the theatre and saw Conan Doyle writing, writing notes in the midst of his medical students, he was so impressed he took him on as his assistant. But Doyle wasn’t writing medical notes. He was creating the basis for the character of Sherlock Holmes. Only he didn’t know it at the time. Only later when he decided to create the first scientific detective, did he pull out those notes. And using his great mind and exceptional writing talent, he created the longest living and most beloved literary character of all time. And it was his writing that supported his family, not his medical degree.
So look again. None of it is failure. All of it is inspiration, imagination and just possibly a path to who we truly are.
Gretchen Altabef is an MX author of Sherlock Holmes Novels who strives to emulate Doctor John Watson’s and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s literary styles. Her first novel was Sherlock Holmes: These Scattered Houses. Both a historical novel and murder mystery, solved as only Holmes can. The sequel is Sherlock Holmes: Remarkable Power of Stimulus. It is a Sherlock Holmes adventure with heart.