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Everyone has their likes and dislikes;
everyone has an opinion about what is the best,
even when we are a child we have our favourites-
a favourite toy we like to play with,
a favourite teddy-bear we like to carry around everywhere,
a favourite blanket that we hold onto tightly for comfort and security,
a favourite bike, a favourite colour that can equally make us feel
calm and quiet one minute, and then the next have our heart
beating fast in our chest.

Throughout our lives we grow to love things more and more,
and we can even gain a new appreciation of some things
that we always claimed wholeheartedly to always hate,
because nothing ever last forever,
and because invariably our tastes do change over time-
there are some things of brilliance and greatness
that we can discover and happen-upon late.

Our favourites are individualistic and say much about who we are
and about the life we have had and the life we live;
our favourites are what make our entire day
and can be what we think about and breath every minute;
our favourite person, our favourite song,
our favourite lesson, our favourite road
which we travel on which is never a mile too long,
our favourite book, our favourite car,
our favourite cook, our favourite drink at our favourite bar.

Our favourites are our favourites,
because they make us feel something;
our favourites are our favourites,
because they make the world feel like there is nothing missing;
our favourites are our favourites,
because they make us feel at home
even when we are far-away from what we know
as well as the back of our hand;
our favourites are our favourites,
because they are special to us
and not just another grain of sand.

My favourite book is ‘The Little Prince’;
my favourite film is ‘The Shawshank Redemption’,
or, depending on the day, ‘500 Days of Summer’;
my favourite colour is Blue;
my favourite writer is William Shakespeare,
and he has been from the moment I first read his beautiful words,
and every time I have re-read anything penned by him every day since;
my favourite song is ‘To the moon and back’ by Savage Garden,
but I also love John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’-
and to me these songs are songs that no one else
could ever truly cover;
my favourite thing to do is write,
but, if you know me already,
that would be something that you already knew.

What is my favourite now hasn’t always been,
nor should it ever be-
things are meant to change, as we are meant to change;
as we live, learn, and experience new things and see new things
we grow and change, bear fruit, and take in,
and are a person and a product of our environment, circumstance,
mood, and our emotional metamorphosis that we sometimes go through,
because of something that we feel and see.

Your favourites are your favourites, but they could also be
the favourites of someone you know,
or of someone you have yet to meet-
but who you might meet because you share the same love
and appreciation for something,
and because you bask in the light that something,
or perhaps someone, daily emits;
your favourite table, your favourite chair,
your favourite place, your favourite passion-
there is always an amazing story and an amazing reason
why something touches you, and why something, or why someone,
becomes your favourite.

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It all begins at the Birmingham Moor Street train station,
on Platform One, as I stand behind the yellow line,
and the yellow painted words ‘MIND THE GAP’,
as I wait for the 10:01 train to Stratford-upon-Avon.

I love train journeys,
but I dont make them that often-
the last train journey I took was on the New York Subway
last year, and I loved every second;
for me, going somewhere, anywhere, even if it is somewhere
I have been before, but not for a while,
is always an adventure, is always inspiring, is always fun.

It’s a rainy day, but the wet weather doesn’t leave me undettered;
the cloudy sky above looks like a black and white photograph
from another world.
Travelling by rail- through the green countryside of the places I know
so well, and seeing them and passing through them at high-speed-
gives me a new perspective of them, and I love the places I know
even more than before, and their importance to me
has never rung more true than the last time I heard the sound of a bell.

Walking the streets where Shakespeare walked,
seeing and hearing all the people who are visiting England
from all over the world,
seeing tourists of all nationalities excited about being in Stratford-upon-Avon,
William Shakespeare’s home, as much as I am, makes me smile-
and as I look and listen, see and think,
the streets, the history, and the infinite stories of so many people
jump out at me, and their latent voices talk,
and this place of inspiration I can already feel inspiring me,
and the magic of words and language that I can feel everywhere is undeniable.

I love returning to a place I have been to before, but with new eyes,
a new heart, but with already magical accumulated experiences
and memories that I bring with me and walk with me always.
I feel more at peace here now than I did before,
I keep expecting to turn a corner and actually bump into Shakespeare
still walking these roads and paths, like me,
like I am doing today, and he and I actually looking at each other
in the eyes as our mutual spirits exchange a powerful poetic connection-
like two kindred spirits- as we two hear the voice of nature
and life’s beautiful call.

This place is a writer’s paradise;
this place is an artist’s dream;
this place is a people-watcher’s place to be,
because every thing and everyone
is worth looking at more than twice;
this place is a great place to visit, feel, and to be.

Sitting and having my lunch in The Black Swan-
with a roaring hot fire to my left,
the theatre right in front of me outside the window,
and to my right the rippling river Avon-
I sit, I look, and I don’t want to leave.
The rain is stopping now.
The blue sky is returning.
I am reflecting on the day I have had,
and the journey I have taken,
that has inspired, compelled, and availed me.

The last place in Stratford-upon-Avon that I visit
is Holy Trinity Church- the place on this pilgrimage
that I wanted to revisit and pay my respects to the great
master of language, and my eternal inspiration and idol,
the one and only William Shakespeare.
Standing before Shakespeare’s grave again,
I feel introspective-
my mind, for the first time in a while, is quiet,
and as I bow my head before his grave and monument
I feel the connection between he and I so unwaveringly and so clear.
And as I leave his church I feel something amazing come over me,
and my mind feels as turbulent and changeable and full of colour-
like heights and depths of the atmosphere.

When the end of the day came, and I was on my way home on the train,
I left Stratford-upon-Avon reinvigorated with hope, optimism,
and inspiration from so many things that I saw, felt,
and experienced for the first time and again while I was there-
the moments that will not easily be washed away,
and I just wish I could have shared my time there with someone else;
but as I think that, as I am writing about my day
and as I re-read what I have already written,
I realize I have and I am sharing everything with someone else-
with you who is reading this now,
because you are interested in me and my life
and the things that inspire me like nothing else,
and because, first and foremost, you are just like me,
and because you care.

Today has been amazing.
Today has been about me meeting Shakespeare,
and about William Shakespeare meeting me.
Today has been fun, exciting, enlightening,
and in a word: inspiring.
Today has been, and will always be,
the day I found something I have been waiting to fine for a long time-
today was an adventure, a pilgrimage, a trip back in time,
that like a great book that you never want to close or put down
opened my mind wide, and like my life so far-
every second surpassed the last.
It was the most epic, great, and amazing journey.

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To me, William Shakespeare is the “People’s Poet”-
whose timeless and beautiful works always permit
the identification of yourself within the words that you read;
a further understanding of the human condition, and it’s need’s-
who, through his poem’s, play’s, sonnet’s, and character’s
always ask’s questions, and gives answers.
The more Shakespeare you read the more his words rise from the page,
especially if you are in the audience of them being performed on stage.
Tales of love, loss, ambition, and jealousy,
of time, comedy, tyranny, and identity,
are but a handful of the themes that Shakespeare explores;
and through which, like a key to the lock of many doors,
The Bard himself transports his audience to many places-
allows us to feel, and understand the motivations of many faces.

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