Jennifer Bush - Writer

The Year of Honey Mustard

I’m going to break a rule right-off and cut to the reveal: 2019 was the year of Honey Mustard. If we focus on character change as the story, I’d be wrong to omit that my opinion of mustard didn’t dramatically change this year. Did I learn from my writing practice? Certainly. Did I gain valuable feedback? Absolutely. Did I have an exceptional, hand-stacked deli sandwich on perfectly crusty, but not-too-crusty, bread? Possibly. I don’t believe there are many peer-reviewed studies on sudden mustard appreciation, but the hypothesis seems plausible until proven wrong. All I’m saying, is that the year came and went, and now I like mustard.

Other things of note from the year: 

  • Challenges like 12×12 and Storystorm provided inspiration and motivation to write, revise, and rest. I polished, I pruned, I completely dismantled things and put them back together. I wrote things I liked. I wrote things I didn’t like, then let them go. Whether the work turned into a favorite new draft or a line mine for future excavation, the work was done and I’m happier for it.
  • I doodled, sketched and roughed-out dummies. While not working on illustration, I enjoy drawing as part of my own creative process. Many years ago I took a pottery class and I’ve never taken a bowl for granted since. Drawing is similar for me. I do it because I enjoy it, and it offers the benefit of valuing others’ work all the more.  
  • I read to a class of kindergartners and we all made disconcerted frog faces at one another on purpose. I don’t have a photo of this, but the one in my brain is pretty high-res and pretty hi-larious.
  • I read piles of pictures books and an additional 36 titles that spanned early chapter, middle grade, graphic novel, YA, and Adult Fiction/NonFiction. 
  • I supported my local libraries, my beloved local indie, a school library, and re-established a writing space surrounded by my personal library.
  • I continue to be “Pretty good, with room for improvement” when it comes to the Tuesday New York Times crossword puzzle. I do this every day, to the chagrin of the other days of the week.

And thus, a new year begins full of books to write and read, doodles to do, and crosswords to (mostly) complete. May we all continue to work at what we love, believe in our abilities, raise our hands for help, offer our expertise to others, and grow in unexpected ways. Overall, 2019 passed muster… as for 2020, pass the mustard.