Robin Lee Carlson speaks to managing editor Emily Everett about her essay “Reading the Ashes,” which appears in The Common’s fall 2022 issue. Robin talks about the many-year process of observation, illustration, and writing that went into the essay, which explores the cycle of fire and rebirth in Cold Canyon. She also discusses how her work balances the poetic and artistic with the scientific, how sketching and watercolors help her understand the natural world, and how she hopes her book will encourage readers to observe and question ecological change in their local areas.
Robin Lee Carlson is a natural science writer, illustrator, and author of The Cold Canyon Fire Journals: Green Shoots and Silver Linings in the Ashes. Her art and writing have also appeared in Arnoldia and The Common. Robin’s focus is ecosystem disruptions, anthropogenic and natural, and how landscapes and ecological communities change over time. Her work is grounded in direct observation and documenting the world around her as it unfolds.
Read Robin’s essay in The Common at thecommononline.org/reading-the-ashes/.
Read more from Robin at RobinLeeCarlson.com, or follow her on Instagram at @anthropocenesketchbook.
The Common is a print and online literary magazine publishing stories, essays, and poems that deepen our collective sense of place. On our podcast and in our pages, The Common features established and emerging writers from around the world. Read more and subscribe to the magazine at thecommononline.org, and follow us on Twitter @CommonMag.
Emily Everett is managing editor of the magazine and host of the podcast. Her debut novel is forthcoming from Putnam Books. Her stories appear in the Kenyon Review, Electric Literature, Tin House Online, and Mississippi Review. She is a 2022 Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellow. Say hello on Twitter @Public_Emily.