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The day had been planned for for months;
the moment had been imagined and re-imagined
over and over over in my head;
the thought about what I would say gave me goose-bumps;
the alignment of all the stars that had to happen
to bring about a meeting of minds, lives, books, authors,
still makes me feel like a kid at Christmas again;
the anticipation, the journey,
the waiting in-line outside the grand Waterstones bookstore
in Birmingham with my friend,
is something that I will always remember,
and it will always be special to me-
I remember bringing more than one book to get signed
by one of my favourite authors,
but just the thought of what I was doing
and who I was doing it with,
and the memory and experience that I was sharing
was what truly made me happy.

Being a writer can sometimes be a solitary endeavour,
and by its nature writing must be a personal act
that only you can do alone;
being a writer can sometimes feel like you are a traveler
off on an adventure,
and the only person who can truly understand what its like,
what it means, and what you can do,
is another writer who is on their own journey-
while sitting in a coffee shop surrounded by sound,
or a writer in their own space,
writing feverishly on their computer or in their notebook,
in the comfort and solitude of their home.

What I loved about waiting in-line for so long
was that I got to listen and notice people around me,
who were just like me,
and who were just as excited about coming face to face
with someone who made them imagine, think, feel,
something, and share something with someone else-
that is exactly what happened with me:
I read something, I was touched by something,
I was gifted an amazing story,
because of a phenomenal and magical writer,
and I instantly felt the need to share it-
as if I were under a spell.

When my friend and I reached the top of the windy stairs,
and finally came eye to eye with the author
that we had both been looking forward to meeting,
I honestly felt like the author, myself, and my friend,
were the only people in the bookstore,
at the book signing event,
and that everyone had suddenly, magically, left;
it was amazing looking down at my favourite writer,
talking to him about how I loved his writing
and the inspirational commencement speech
that he gave a few years ago
which made me too go off on my own creative quest-
however, the truly amazing and the most epic thing ever
was when I took out my own book that I had signed for him
and I handed it to him as I told him that I too was an author,
and to this day I still remember what a thrill,
and what an honour, it was when my favourite author
accepted my own gift and then extended his hand to me,
and in that infinite and fantastic moment
I felt a connection and a transference of knowledge and wonder,
and storytelling magic, from one author to another.

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My favourite song is playing on the radio;
I am drinking my favourite drink, in my favourite place;
my thoughts are in over-drive,
as I sit, looking around, with a smile on my face;
it’s raining outside, but life is sweet
and I am happy and warm inside- like hot raspberry jam;
I am having a flashback and a flash-forward,
between a happy little boy,
and a content old man.

I have always felt like a conduit;
I have always sought out and shared;
I have always believed that you can carry everything you need,
most of the time, in your trouser pockets;
I have always gone to the edge,
taken a risk, and gone farther sometimes than others might choose to dare,
in thoughts, in feelings, on foot, on a path
that never doubles back on itself-
but the things that happen on it do feel strangely familiar;
life is a playground of spins, swings, ups, and downs,
tears, smiles, pain, and laughter-
so it is never a surprise to me that things reoccur.

In this day and age, everybody is looking for a power-point,
a place to plug-in and recharge;
everyday, everybody, wherever they are,
take advantage of the free,
the seemingly-indispensable, the small, the large;
today, right now, a billion years ago, always,
life in all its forms makes the most of what it has
and what surrounds it, and everything reacts and adapts
to certain things, at certain times, in a myriad of ways.

Things have a history;
you can always find a pattern to follow;
the definitive meaning of life will always be a mystery;
but what everybody and everything really needs to know
is always with you and inside you wherever you go.

You can’t go around life, you can only go through it;
you can’t hide yourself forever,
because one day someone will unlock your soul,
and read your mind, and know your heart better than anyone,
and make you realize that you too are a conduit.

 

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There are times in your life
when you need a push;
there are times in your day
when you need a boost;
there are times in order to get things done
you have to do them in a rush;
there are times when you have to take a breath
and say “what do I have to lose?”.

We all would love a life of no demands;
we all would love to have a life of no worries;
we all would love to explore at our own pace
the wonders of far-away lands;
we all would love to live a simple life sometimes,
perhaps in a log-cabin in the middle of a forest,
with enough of what we need for a year or two,
surrounded by the sounds, the air,
the smells of nature, and to be able to fall asleep
every night listening to the music of the wind
blowing and rustling the leaves of the trees.

To retreat is not to surrender;
to find a place to rest and collect yourself
is what you have got to do;
to find peace is to find splendor;
to have the time to breath in deep,
and then dive into something head-first
is the indulgent gift of lucky and fortunate few.

Feeling relief can make you feel lighter;
spending time with your favourite person
in the whole world can renew your spirit;
allowing yourself to be dazzled can help you climb higher;
thinking about the possibilities that you know
are within the reach of your grasp,
because of what you have done to get where you are,
can and will give you all that you need
to stop obsessing the what if’s and just do it.

Time is sometimes of the essence;
obligations and commitments are a way of life for everybody;
there is a genuine lesson to be learnt
from the virtue of patience;
you life can feel so much more rewarding when you have a shared hobby.

You have got to make time for work;
you have got to make time for leisure and pleasure;
you have got to make time for perfecting
the unique joys of your own characteristic quirks;
you have to make time to say ‘whatever’,
and know no pressure.

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When you are in your own world
and you need a little ‘pick me up’
there is no more powerful motivator
and instigator and reason to nod your head,
to tap your foot, and move your body to the beat,
to the music, and to the words of a great song,
your favourite song, your happy song,
and you can always tell when someone has found that song
and is listening to it and is being controlled by it
every time with the sight of a smile
and the feeling that you get from a look.

Whether in a club, or in a pub,
in a cafe, or while taking part in a game that you play-
that one song can be like nothing else on Earth,
and can truly sing and speak to your heart;
that one song can get you through a bad time in your life,
and can touch you deeply,
because its meaning and importance is so sharp.

That one song can make you smile;
that one song can make you cry;
that one song can make you keep pressing redial;
that one song can take you higher than high.
That one song can take your breath away;
that one song can make you shout;
that one song you can be singing to yourself all day;
that one song can make you melt.

There are songs that are special and unique for a reason;
there are songs that are constantly played and replayed
until they literally become a part of the public consciousness;
there are songs that are for a life-time and not just for a season;
there are songs that are better than all the rest.
There are songs that get you through a grueling work day;
there are songs that help you to drift off to sleep;
there are songs that carry you all the way;
there are songs that you will always love,
and the lyrics of which you will always keep.

Music is a phenomenal gift that should never be taken for granted;
music can be your passion, your love, your salvation,
your place to go to when something is wrong.
That one song, that one piece of music can be poetry to the ears,
to the mind, and to all of your senses,
and its place in your life can grow like a tree
that begins its life the very second
that it is touched by that first drop of water
at almost the instant after it is planted-
and that is why every song, especially our favourite songs,
should be cherished and remembered,
and that way they will forever be our song.

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If I could go anywhere, where would I go?
If I could be anywhere, where would I be?
I would love to be walking the streets of New York City,
or looking out the window of Starbucks on 6th Avenue,
where I vividly remember sitting, reading a book,
writing a poem, and enjoying a cappuccino.
I would love to go for a walk in Central Park,
hand-in-hand with my best friend,
and then sitting by the pond at the centre of the park
on a bench with not even the sounds of the city
to be heard, as we sit there in bliss,
as we hear the call of birds singing in the trees.

If I were to wake up in the morning and find myself in Georgia,
I would be over the moon.
Right at this moment, and almost constantly throughout the day,
I fantasize about climbing the Blue Ridge Mountains
and being inspired by my muse as she guides me
and shows me all the beautiful sights of the “Peach State”
and being in two states of America simultaneously at times,
because I will literally be able to walk and cross a state line
with the ease and simplicity of whistling a tune.

Listening to my favourite music with my friends, at the same time,
in the same place- all of us together for the first time ever-
would be so awesome and so epic hearing the same songs,
moving to the same beat would be one of the best,
the most perfect, the most amazing experiences of my life,
and the most fantastic and idyllic.

Eating an orange on a beach in the hot Florida sun,
would bot only be incredible right now,
it would be so much fun-
hearing the waves crashing, as I take a bite of every segment
of the most juicy and delicious piece of fruit I have ever had
in my entire life, would feel like being in heaven,
and I would give anything after finishing my orange
to be able to get up, take off my flip flops,
and go for a long barefoot run.

If money was no object, if any wish that I made could come true,
I would go to my nearest airport and I would book a one-way ticket,
I would go somewhere special, I would go somewhere new.
If the destination could be anywhere,
and if the means to get there could be any form of transport.
I would go to the place that my heart beats for,
and where I dream of being, fly off into the sunrise-
whilst all the while seated in my window seat looking out,
looking forward, while still holding on tight to my boarding-pass
and my passport.

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Every adventure begins with a dream;
every epic starts with a first step;
every day begins with a sunrise
that you may not always see;
every ocean starts with that very first drop.

Every singer starts by singing into a hair-brush;
every author begins by first writing in a diary;
every musician starts with an imaginary instrument-
like an air-guitar- while listening to their favourite music
full-blast, and being told to turn the music down
with a bang on the wall, or a hush;
every song-writer begins writing songs as poetry.

Every driver starts by having a go behind the wheel
of their parents car;
every life full of language and conversation
begins with that first word;
every humanitarian, or doctor, starts every day of their calling
with the oath ‘to do no harm’;
every disease that was ever thought to be wholly-untreatable
will one day be found to have a cure.

Every happy life begins with that first friend;
every band began with that first practice-session;
every new beginning started with an end;
every great relationship began with a question.
Every fortune started with that first penny;
every chain began with that first link;
every thing about who you are and who you will be
goes back and can be traced to who is your family;
every change of perspective begins by you considering
a possibility that you never thought to every think.

Every collection begins with that first item that you treasure;
every place of peace and serenity started as the place
where you always wanted to be when you were a kid;
every passion should always be a pleasure.
Every singer, every musician, every poet, every astronaut,
every teacher, every vet, every soldier, every inventor,
every gardener, can always go back
and point to the time, and they can always tell you what,
and where it all began, and where it all started.

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A picture to remember us by,
a photo to look back on
and relive the happy memory
of a shared experience and a shared time;
a shell from the beach where two people used to walk
hand in hand and barefoot in the soft wet sand;
a ticket stub from a trip to the cinema you took with someone
to see a great film late at night;
an old receipt from your favourite restaurant,
a birthday card, a letter, a message-
a tangible memento that you can still feel
and still remember when and where and why and with whom
this meaningful and special thing to you
became a memento to you, and became so important to you
because of its connection with that someone that effected you
and always will, or because it just reminds you of the days
when you and your life were in their prime,
and everything felt perfect and right.

When times get bad,
when the waves of the sea of reality get rough,
when instead of looking forward you want to look back,
when you want to appreciate something in all it’s greatness,
when you want to remember the instant when you first fell in love,
when you want to go for a walk in the park of a relationship
when things were at their best,
when you are stuck inside on a rainy,
it’s good to take out and look at things-
things that may be spread all over your house
in places where you can constantly look to and know they are there,
things you always carry around with you in your pocket,
or things that you have collected together in a scrapbook for yourself
to look at and remember-
and that is why it is so important to keep what you can,
and don’t throw everything away.

I think photo-albums are amazing;
I think keeping a diary or writing in a journal is a fantastic thing to do,
and I think it is a brilliant way to record days, events,
and recollections of moments in your life;
I think a scrapbook is the best thing to start with a child
when they are just beginning to understand why certain things
and certain times mean more to us than others,
and why certain people constantly pop-up in the memories we have
and we return to, because it teaches them early-on,
and will remind them every time and always,
why we replay and know all the lyrics to the songs we remember and sing,
and that everyone can live on, as can we, after we die.

It’s sometimes only when we are alone
and looking for some reassurance about something
that we choose to look, re-read, remember, recall,
where something in our possession originated from
and who gave it to us-
it could be a faded photo;
it could be a worn-out piece of paper
with someone’s unique handwriting on it;
a t-shirt that you refuse to wash
because it still has someone’s smell on it;
it could be a precious, special, memory,
from which there are no souvenirs, or photos,
or anything that you can ever hold in your hand,
because it was so brief, instantaneous,
and because you simply did just have to be there to understand
the true meaning of the moment-
they are the very best, and they are the incredible,
and irreplaceable, mementos.

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We all have our own personal rituals;
we all have our own unique quirks
that have meaning for us which we repeat,
because they give our lives balance,
because they connect the dots in our mind
to where we need to be;
we all have our own habits and routines
that are seemingly monumentally crucial;
we all have our own ways of being
that say to the world ‘this is me’.

Some people can’t think straight, nor concentrate,
without their first cup of tea or coffee every morning;
some people feel lost and unable to function
if they don’t have that first sight of the sun,
that sings to them with the power and the voice,
and the music of their favourite artist or band performing.
Some people find it hard to get out of bed
without having something out of their reach
to take a necessary, vital, step towards;
some people feel at their best when everything makes perfect sense,
because everything we see and feel conforms
to the structures of perfection and bliss that we know,
which we take the time to build and keep standing every day
like a house of cards.

Familiarity is very important.
Our trust in what we know works for us every time
is something we hold on to tight-
walking the same route that we know,
wearing the same clothes that we feel comfortable in,
going to the same places over and over again
that like a ghost we regularly haunt,
becomes not just something that we do, but a way of life.

It is fascinating to observe, and to see in my own reflection,
what we all do, and why.
I love glimpsing a idiosyncrasy that I have never seen before-
whether it is one of someone I have never met,
or one of my own that I couldn’t hide, disguise,
or say I do not do it for a reason, because that would be a lie.

Some rituals are hereditary-
passed on from father to daughter, or from mother to son;
some daily routines of ours are like rites of passage for us,
and feel more to us than a simple custom.
Some rituals come slowly to us and grow naturally with us,
and are things that we look forward to doing-
like sitting in a coffee shop writing,
or going to the cinema to watch a movie,
or returning to our favourite shops,
or going back to the places where we have the strongest memories
and the happiest of recollections,
or eating your favourite meal at your favourite restaurant
at your favourite table, with your favourite people,
or going to a concert to listen to your favourite music.

Rituals are a daily prescription for everyone,
rituals are our key to deciphering
the finer details of life’s blueprint,
rituals are what people sometimes remember us by the most-
like a part of our aura that stays with people,
like a characteristic residual.
Rituals are what makes us human.
Rituals are there always in everything and everyone.
Their is no one alive now that I know and see
every second of every day who doesn’t have a ritual.

Every time I can, any day I am free,
I like to visit my favourite coffee shop wherever I am,
in whatever town or city I am in,
and sit down, listen to the always great music playing,
take in the ambiance of inside and outside,
maybe even have a Blueberry muffin
in my usual seat, at my usual table, looking out the window,
while enjoying a frothie caramel-drizzled coffee.

I love coming back to my favourite coffee shop,
I love visiting a store I have never been to before,
and because of the inspiration that I imbibe from being here,
and because the atmosphere is always amazing and different every time,
I always stay in to drink and eat-
for me, every time I come to Starbucks, it is never just a short-stop.

I have been to many different coffee shops,
I have been to many different Starbucks in different cities
and towns around the world-
from Birmingham, Solihull, and Coventry, in the UK,
to one or two of the many Starbucks in New York City-
early in the morning for breakfast,
in the afternoon for lunch,
or late at night surrounded by bright lights.
Every experience I have had in Starbucks
has been one that I always remember, and I am always inspired by,
and every time I come to Starbucks
I do feel like something wonderful and new has been awakened in me.

I have been to Starbucks alone,
I have shared deep, meaningful, and phenomenal
states of transcendence and conversation with friends,
I have written poetry after taking a mere sip of a Machiatto,
and feeling like I have been transported to a wonderful,
inspiring, fascinating, connected, inclusive, Wi-Fi, worry-free zone.

I have never wanted to be anywhere else than in Starbucks
on a rainy day like today,
enjoying my favourite caffeine-filled beverage,
looking around, thinking and seeing where my attention will take me,
enjoying every moment, and making the most of every second
of reflection and refraction-
not knowing where my thoughts, where my imagination,
will carry me, nor where it will all end.

In Starbucks you can sit down in a comfy chair,
chat with your friends, laugh, joke, surf the internet,
drink, eat, write a poem, read a book;
in Starbucks you can be anonymous,
you can be anybody, you can say anything, you can feel so much,
you can meet someone you have known for years,
you can meet someone new,
you can realise something you never knew-
because there is no other place that I love coming back to,
than my favourite coffee shop, the place with the deepest of cups,
the one and only, Starbucks.

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A gust of wind blew through the trees,
as I stood in my favourite forest
and watched a single leaf break-away from its branch,
and begin to fall to Earth.
As this lone leaf descended above me,
right in front of me, time appeared to freeze.
This leaf, for some reason, was now defying gravity itself-
its fall had somehow become interrupted-
it was now floating and turning in the air right in front of me,
as if I were witnessing a token of nature and the world’s unlimited wealth.
The rest of the world was a blur to me;
the leaf, however, I could see with impeccable clarity.
Everything felt like a dream, but this wasn’t a fantasy-
this was like another state of reality.
There wasn’t a sound to be heard,
and yet I thought that I could feel noise all around-
something that was keeping me on my feet,
but denying the leaf from finding the ground.
It was as if I was watching a magic trick,
but I knew that it wasn’t an illusion
orchestrated by a magician, nor a hallucination-
what I was experiencing was, I can only describe as being,
like a moment of regeneration-
and this leaf had chosen to sacrifice itself
so that this necessary change could take place;
this leaf was all life on Earth,
this leaf was the changing face of every Earth-born race.
The air was cold, but I felt like a warm flame-flickering lantern;
the trees were still, but the golden leaf continued to turn.

And then, the rest of the world came back into focus.
Another gust of wind blew through the forest,
the branches of the behemoths all around me swayed from side-to-side,
all the leaves from all the trees suddenly fell to Earth as-one-
as if the entire forest had cried.
Every golden leaf that had once been green
and had coloured these woods every shade of life imaginable
now spiralled down through the air to the floor- around me, on me;
however, there was one exception:
the leaf that had fallen first was the last to touch the Earth
that lay in waiting-
it fell, but it fell in its own time, at its own pace-
saying a long goodbye to an existence that it was forsaking.
I was tempted to put out my hand to stop the leaf from completing its journey,
but then I berated myself for such a thought
and I continued to watch the leaf spin for the last time,
and then settle on top of all the other leaves on the ground
that moments ago were high above me.

I looked down at the leaf, until I could no longer discern which leaf had fallen,
froze time, and fascinated me so intently;
and then I looked up again at the trees and branches
that were now bare and free of foliage,
and my mind and thoughts felt flooded, but clear,
and teaming with energy and peace-
like the water of the Great Barrier Reef.
My focus was now clear,
my foundations of life were now cemented.
I believe that I witnessed the beginning, the end,
and the beginning of another universe
that began in the time that it took
to watch the slow flight of a falling leaf.

'The Falling Leaf'

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