My favorite part about the 1989 film Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure is the motley crew of historical figures the boys pick up for their final presentation.

Incongruously, amongst the excellent comments and air guitar riffs, are Sigmund Freud, Beethoven, Joan of Arc, Genghis Khan, Billy the Kid, Abraham Lincoln…


Being Civil

As a writer, I have to deal with time. Time and time again, I am asked to do things on a very clear schedule. Drafts are due, copyedited manuscripts need to be turned in, covers approved. Sometimes, I think people imagine writers as these slightly drunken creative types…


Every semester — save for those during the pandemic — I ask my students to go out into the world to hear a writer who is working on the type of writing that we’ve been reading and writing in class. …


When I was little, I believed that adults did very certain things depending on their gender, not that I knew what gender meant at the time. Women — my mother — stayed at home and kept it clean. Sometimes, moms went out to work, but work outside the home was…


People who haven’t had coffee shouldn’t make coffee.

I relearned this important lesson a couple of mornings ago upon finding my pot of coffee spilled like a slick across the counter, dripping over the edge, pooling in a coffee pool on the floor.

What had I been thinking? Oh, yeah…


As a teacher, I’ve had some rough times figuring out when to stop or start teaching various texts. Some clearly and with force reared as offensive or racist or untenable. …


Conflict

When my first agent read my first novel manuscript, she called me up and said, “You don’t like conflict, do you?”

Excuse me, I thought. I pretty much AM conflict. I am filled with conflict. I am a 24/7 conflict kind of gal, roiling in her own issues, traumatized…


One of my friends recently asked me how to put a poetry collection together. I told her I would think about it and get back to her.

This question is very much like the question of how to create chapters because I don’t really know the answer.

Already, I have…


As a reader from the get-go, an English major even before I knew I was one, I always had my idea of what William Shakespeare looked like, kind of a dark version of Ben Franklin. Sort of a literary Quaker Oats guy. This solemn, imposing figure is the man on…


When I set about writing my first novel, Her Daughter’s Eyes, I was truly unsure how to craft a chapter. What was a chapter, exactly? I was not an MFA graduate at that point, and I’d never taken a class entitled: Chapters 101. Was a chapter, I asked myself, like…

Jessica Barksdale Inclan

Jessica Barksdale poetry collection “Grim Honey” is forthcoming in April. “The Play’s the Thing,” her time-travel Shakespearean romp, will be published in May.

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