Robert Root


First: Robert
Last: Root
Bio: Robert Root is the author of the memoir Happenstance and the essay collections Postscripts: Retrospections of Time and Place and Limited Sight Distance: Essays for Airwaves, as well as of the craft book The Nonfictionist’s Guide: On Reading and Writing Nonfiction. He is also editor of Landscapes with Figures: The Nonfiction of Place and co-editor of The Fourth Genre: Contemporary Writers of/on Creative Nonfiction. He teaches nonfiction in the Ashland University low-residency MFA program.

Robert's Blogs

Essaying a Spinning World
Much of what Skloot deems "off-kilter" seems the kind of emotional imbalance with which we can all identify.
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Our children are up to their knees in the waves before we notice the dark cloud above the lake, a blur of rain below it, moving toward us. As I wade out to them, the cloud comes closer, and we return to the beach. Within minutes the sky darkens overhead and the first chilly raindrops strike bare shoulders and backs. Under towels wrapped around us, token protection against the rain, we huddle together while other bathers retreat, leaving us alone at the water’s edge in the rain. Then I see my granddaughter, the ten-year-old, still standing in breaking waves and falling rain, smiling at us, shrugging nonchalantly, never flinching.
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One Reader's Homage to Two Dogeared Authors
The next time you stop by my house, ask to see my copy of Patricia Hampl's The Art of the Wasted Day, her most recent book. You may not know that long ago, feeling guilty about writing in the margins of books, I began dogearing pages where the author wrote something I hoped to remember....
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A Perceivable Soul
The last time we saw her, two weeks before she died, her dementia seemed to have taken everything from her. The traits we thought particularly hers were no longer visible to us.
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Keeping Connected to the Natural World
Most days my wife and I read a book aloud at dinnertime and we each read a book silently at bedtime. Sometimes one book reverberates with the other, cumulatively expanding our consciousness. That happened when we read Hope Jahren’s Lab Girl together and I read Elizabeth Rush’s Rising over the same period.
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Scholar’s Sensibility, Poet’s Eye
Since 1926 the John Burroughs Association has awarded its medal to nature writers, many of whom I’ve heard of (Carson, Eiseley, Zwinger, Leopold, Lopez, and McPhee for starters) and many others I haven’t but might want to look up. Having read both Sightlines and Surfacing, her 2019 collection of essays, I readily include Jamie among those we most need to be reading.
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Meditative Naturalist, Intimate Essayist, Visionary Author
I began reading the essays of Scott Russell Sanders when I encountered “The Inheritance of Tools” in The Best American Essays 1987. I’ve collected his books of essays ever since and, as a life-long resident of Great Lakes states, have felt a strong sense of identification with works like Secrets of the Universe, Staying Put: Making a Home in a Restless World, Writing From the Center, and Hunting for Hope: A Father’s Journeys.
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