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A Year Ago...

Well readers, visitors and friends, it has officially been a year since I started this blog and well it has been a wonderful experience, with ups and downs but for the most part I have loved sharing the book love and connecting with other bookworms.

To celebrate a year since I started The Yorkshire Bookworm blog I thought maybe I should share why and how the blog came to be. So grab your choice of drink, a seat and relax for this is a tale about friendships, afternoon tea, too much wine and getting lost on the motorway.

It was a Tuesday I believe and I was due to go to uni in less that a month. I wanted to say goodbye to my

friends and planned to have my art girls, plus Ruben (Sineade's boyfriend) round to my house for afternoon tea. I baked all sorts of treats from Cathy Bramley's Appleby Farm which has lots of recipes in the back. Jamiela, Ruth, Olivia, Sineade and Ruben were due round and I prepped the table with treats in the middle, sandwiches, scones, brownies, muffins, victoria sponge cake and chocolate roulade.

"Phoebe why does your chocolate roulade look like a turd?" Ruben asked, laughing.

"Hey it's not my fault the sponge didn't set well." I had argued.

"The Chocolate Turd"

"I'm sure it tastes good." Jamiela had licked her lips, she always had a sweet tooth.

Stories were told as we drank cup after cup of tea, treats eaten we all sat round the table with full tummies with promises that we would never eat again. The atmosphere in the room was bittersweet and filled with love, we were all going our separate ways after five years of being in the same art class with each other. Two years of GCSE, two years of A-Level and now we had just completed our pre-degree. It was the end of a era. The thought of not seeing these creative souls every week in a studio was a thought I tried to keep buried.

Ruth, who has a talent for pastel pencil drawings, like I'm jealous of her talent was going to carry on her education at college to study Fine Art and Crafts, alongside Sineade who's work still blows me away today, both of them wanting to stay close to family. Olivia, an artist who could create the most stunning colour pencil portraits was leaving education to work having been given sixteen hour contract at Gregg's. She was wanting to work, to save and help her family out. Jamiela was going to Loughborough university to study graphics, her graphic's work by the way is just perfection. I was leaving to go to Carlisle, a big move from our small town in Doncaster.

"Stop it Phoebe! You and your bloody romance books!" Sineade had giggled. I had got on to talking about books again and I was filling them in with the latest books I had read, the romance, the setting, the beauty in the writing.

"What?" I said innocently.

"You just love talking about books don't you." Ruth shook her head, a smile on her lips.

"I would if you guys were interested." I protest.

"I'm interested." Liv grinned, "If you read fantasy but you don't."

"If only there was people who actually wanted to talk about books, no one in class or at school ever read books." I said.

"No we only read what was on the english crit." Sineade laughed.

At around three in the afternoon Jamiela asked me to drive her to the train station in town which was only a thirty minute drive, I said yes and left the others in the house while I drove her there.

It was going all good until we came to the town centre, it was rush hour and Jami's train was due in twenty minutes. I was tapping along to the radio, a track that had been played multiple times caused me to switch it to The Lumineer's Cleopatra album as that always seemed to calm me.

"What's that thing you've been writing?" Jami said, breaking my thoughts.

I looked at her confused, "What writing?"

"The document that's always on you laptop whenever you post on snapchat you seem to be writing all the time, I thought it was essays at first but we've finished school so I thought it must be writing. So what are you writing?"

Jamiela had studied English at A-Level, I think it was literature, I can't quite remember. The thought of sharing with her what I had been writing late at night seemed stupid and embarrassing all of a sudden but Jamiela had a kind heart, she didn't have a bad bone in her body.

"Well you see..." I stuttered, "I've been you know... writing a story.... something silly... it's nothing really just a bit of fun a way to you know... just escape to."

"Really?" She said surprised, "What like?"

"Just a little story about a woman and...." I told her the basis of my little writing project, it wasn't anything big to be honest it was just a bit of fun, I had up to that point read loads of romance novels with swoon worthy heroes, flawed characters and adventures, I wanted to see if I could somehow capture that in my own words with my own story. Jamiela listened as I blurted out the story without giving it all away, it was still a work in progress only eleven pages of what could be seen as crap. But then again, it was my crap that I was sharing.

"Oooo that sounds dark in places but good. I wish I could tell stories like you." She said then.

"What do you mean? You can tell stories." I told her as I drove into the centre of the town, two more roundabouts and we'd be there, no more writing talk. I was never good in creative writing, my grammar and spelling always pulled me down and lets not get started with my tenses and 'there'.

"No I mean you have had so much crap happened to you and you have so much to tell, like if you wrote a story about your life it would be packed! Mine would only be about thirty pages, yours would be so long!" She enthused, "You could tell so much and I would read it, I love your stories."

"Thanks Jami, but I think I should keep my stories to myself, I'm no writer, I'm an artist."

"You never know till you try." She smiled, "Thanks for the lift Phoebe, I'll see you later."

The train station was under construction so the entrance was different, I came out where I came in but somehow I got off the wrong round about and was driving on a road I didn't recognise at all. There was traffic and a lot of it, I wasn't moving and there wasn't any room to turn around I took my phone out an asked it to take me home. Thankfully it listened and began to give me directions which led me onto the motorway.

Just a disclaimer, I have up to that point only ever been on the motorway with friends in the car, never on my own. I was shitting myself but as I sang along to Angela on full belt I seemed to be doing well listening to Doris the sat nav as I went I eventually found myself back on track to familiar grounds. All the while Jami's comments whirled around my mind.

By the time I got back home the others where ready to leave as they had things to do, we hugged and promised each other that we would talk and meet up whenever we were all in the same county again. It was strange, these people weren't just my friends, they were my family. These people had seen me at my absolute worst and at my best, they had encouraged me throughout my art practice and gave the support to push myself and my art practice. I was going to miss them like hell.

That night I was destroying some canvas with acrylic and grout as I was in an abstract and destruction mood, I wanted to destroy and ruin something clean and perfect. I had taken a bottle of rose to my room and drank it straight from the bottle.

Disclaimer, drinking out of a bottle is not something I make a habit out of, there was simply no glasses in the house as they were in the dishwasher.

Moving on as I drank and got more relaxed, the wine heating my stomach I went over the conversation with Jami and began to pace the room.

"I do have a story... I have lots of stories... maybe I could start a blog! Tell people anybody about the random and funny things that have happened, I could talk about my family and about that kick. Oh I could be like Frankie from The Book Ninja. That would mean I would need to sign up to Twitter too.... Yes I could do it! I mean I'm unemployed now what else am I going to do, I could do book reviews and talk about my favourite books as well."

"Phoebe? Are ok in there you're pacing a lot and mumbling?" Mum called from outside my room.

"Yea I'm fine." I waited for her to move away from my room, "I also really need to stop talking to myself."

I turned on my laptop which hadn't been used for months as I only ever used it to print images off. Sat at my desk late at night in my vest and undies drinking from a bottle of wine I signed up to wix and bought a domain, it took a solid half hour to think of a name.

Ah ha! The Yorkshire Bookworm.

Wait would people laugh at that? Am I being stupid, maybe I should leave this till the morning when I'm not tipsy on wine.

The wine responded for me with a, "Just fucking do it!"

So I clicked the right buttons and created my website.

The next morning I woke up to about five emails from wix telling me about my website and I felt a cold chill run through me. Oh crap I actually made a blog! What the hell! I thought I was dreaming and next to my bed was the two bottles of wine that I had drank out of. I guess I'm in it for the long road now.

I told myself, give it a year. Give it a year and see how is goes. Twitter account was made and within two days I posted my first review which got retweeted by the author, Cressida McLaughlin who also then followed me which made my day I'll tell you.

Slowly over the months and now year my following grew, I've met and connected with other bookworms out there. The book community which I never realised was so supportive and BIG!

I had no idea how many book bloggers were out there, how many authors there were and I'll have to be honest with you, I wouldn't have a high tbr pile if it wasn't for book twitter.

So that's the tale of how I created The Yorkshire Bookworm blog. If Jamiela hadn't planted the seed and I hadn't drank that wine I probably wouldn't be here posting this right now. It's been a journey and I've learnt so much from other bloggers who have had some input and who have inspired me to create and shape this blog to what it is now.

Whether you are new here or if you have been here the whole time, thank you! Thank you for taking the time out of your day to read this post, since I started blogging I have come into my own and in a way I have found my voice through writing. Writing that I once hated, writing that if my English teachers ever saw would most likely be shocked. Not because of the odd 'F' word I sometimes use but the fact that I am writing at all. Writing really is a great escape and you don't have to be a whizz at it to enjoy it, you can just write for you. I like to believe writing has the power to help you find your voice, that we all have a story to tell, the question is.

How are you going to tell it?

After all tomorrow is another day spent reading,

Till next time,

Phoebe x

(The Yorkshire Bookworm)

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