On craft

On Kayann Short’s “What Goes Down”

“What Goes Down” by Kayann Short appears in ROOTED: The Best New Arboreal Nonfiction

I’ve always loved the circling nature of the essay, how it orbits a subject, spiraling closer and closer to that center even if it never fully “arrives.” This essay on a single cottonwood is a great example of how something seemingly mundane (a tree by a ditch!) can take on great significance and actually have something important to say, something meaningful and timely, when the orbit does its spiraling work. With this in mind, what object, living or non, might you pin down as a kind of central point of exploration, and how might you begin to circle and circle and circle? —Josh MacIvor-Andersen

Kayann Short’s essay, “What Goes Down,” previously appeared in her book, A Bushel’s Worth: An Ecobiography, published in 2013 by Torrey House Press. Her work has also appeared in Pilgrimage, The Hopper, Mad River Review, The Courier, and The Roost; her essay “Soil vs Dirt: A Reverie on Getting Down to Earth” appears in Dirt: A Love Story (University Press of New England).