I got a note from Chris Flannery, who just arrived in London. I will post it as sent, and will post future ones as they come in (assuming the Muse honors him):
April 22, Heathrow International, Customs Desk:
"What is the purpose of your visit?" asked a sallow young man with a badge who had just glommed our passports. And he didn’t speak in contractions. I was prepared.
"My much better half and I," I said, "have come to stimulate the global economy and strengthen the Special Relationship. Tomorrow is Shakespeare’s birthday-his 445th-and it’s also the opening day of the new season (the twelfth, I think) at the Globe Theatre. Did you know that the man who is called in some of the literature the founder of the New Globe was an American? Uh, huh. Sam Wanamaker.
But he is just a recent example of a long line of Americans who have revered Shakespeare so much and done so much to preserve his memory that the Bard has become by his own kind of magic America’s greatest poet. This doesn’t mean, of course, that he can’t still be England’s greatest poet. Unlike cake, but like the truth, Shakespeare seems only to grow as you give him away. By the way, the theme of the Globe season this year is ’Young Hearts,’ and the first play will be Romeo and Juliet. Did you know that Shakespeare’s younger brother . . ."
"How long will you be staying?" he said. And he said it like someone whose lunch break was long overdue. So we took back our passports and made our way to Baggage Claim.