Today is generally agreed to be the birth date of William Shakespeare, the writer whose work I hold more dear than any other's. I agree with Harold Bloom's assessment (I own two copies of the book; one autographed by Bloom and treasured, one marked up with my notes) that Shakespeare taught us how to be human.
The summer between my two years of graduate school (the first time around), I lived and studied at St. John's College, Oxford. My time in Oxford was among the happiest of my life. I liked being alone, and I loved the city; I should have been born there and never left, but so it goes.
More than anything, I adored my proximity to so many performances of my beloved's work. That summer, I saw: A Midsummer Night's Dream (twice at New College), Antony and Cleopatra (once at Stratford, once at the Globe--that performance changed my life), The Tempest (at Magdelen College), Comedy of Errors (the Globe), Othello (Stratford--soooo creepy),and MacBeth at Wadham College. I fit in a few other plays, but not Shakespeare's.
I wrote my MA thesis throughout the following two semesters, and because of Mark Rylance's performace as Cleopatra, I focused on her as a female hero. I won't bore you with the details, but what fun!
So, on this anniversary of your life, dearest Will, thank you. Thank you. Thank you.