The Beginning / by Helen O'Connor

My very first Books Bestowed book was created when I was working as an event planner at a law firm in London. At work, I was trying to focus on guest-lists and name-tags, but my mind was having none of it - instead, drifting off into a dream-world of words, stories and international best-selling novels.

The story was a gift for Dad’s birthday - a tongue-in-cheek journey through the life of Bill O’Connor. I wrote the whole thing at work, disguised as a very long email, to fool anyone who looked at my screen into thinking I was furiously organising many important events with big legal clients. 

The story took Dad through his childhood - his parents, brothers, and pet cow. It took him through university, then across the seas to London, where he met Mum one afternoon in a bright purple pub. It took him through the birth of his daughters and the death of his father and brother. It took him through his life - right up to the very moment when he would be sitting down, in the lounge, reading the book for the very first time. 

Three full work-days later, the words were ready. I bought a little blank journal and painstakingly hand-wrote and illustrated my very first book, called; ‘A Glorious Man Named Bill’.

It was a hit. Dad loved the book. He took it with him everywhere he went, showing it to everyone he knew – even people he didn’t know very well at all – in a plastic bag to prevent any damage, of course. While these almost-strangers possibly found it all rather uncomfortable, for me it was adorable and incredibly encouraging. The long, laborious, employment-threatening process felt completely worthwhile. 

I'd ventured away from the tie, shirt, undies path, and had given Dad something that would never wear out. I'd given him the gift of words. The gift of his story. 

And he loved it.