On the 400th anniversary of the death and 452nd anniversary of the birth of William Shakespeare who gave his talent to build up the independence of 'This blessed plot' against the religious and political bullying of 16th century Europe, I here declare how special he is in my life.
Since 1996, when Bard-lover Samuel Shoenbaum's obituary appeared in The Times, I have pursued Shakespeare as a kind of supplementary patron-mentor (the Bible is my real guide).
I found that nothing but good things have come of doing this. If one relaxes into the heart and mind of Shakespeare, one gets healing, wholeness, joy, relationships and travel. Apart from, to a lesser extent John Keats, I have never found this true of any other great writer.
Shakespeare is a great gift from God, a tool in the hand of God, especially for the English-speaking world. To be born natively speaking the language that he so expertly used, knowing the countryside he loved is to win a kind of 'lottery of life'.
We held a Shakespeare 400th Dinner and shared some insights. Mine was inspired by a piece of glass in our kitchen which says "A friend is someone who knows he song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words". William Shakespeare is that kind of friend to those of us who have recovered from brain damage - through reading his wonderful and complex words which make new connections in the brain and soul.