Life, Literature, and the Pursuit of Knowledge:
Charles White, Writer and English Instructor
By Lindsey Gillett
Background and education
“Write with a sense of confidence and intensity,”
says Charles White, Western Carolina University graduate.
Since White graduated with a master’s degree in English
in 2004, he has explored many facets of the field. White has
been a college writing teacher, freelance writer, newspaper
journalist, and an independent publisher.
Currently, White teaches at South College in Asheville while
completing a second master’s degree in fine arts at
Spalding University. Aside from his careerand education, White
is writing a novel with excerpts that have been accepted for
publication by different literary journals. In addition to
his busy day, White also works on scholarly writings and book
reviews. He sees writing as a daily part of his life. “Writing,
for me, is an excellent way to contribute to a greater ongoing
dialogue in the arts,” said White.
Influences of English
When it comes to writing novels, the major influences that
he believes shaped his life and interest in English are Nathaniel
Hawthorne and William Faulkner. He also finds influence in
Werner Herzhog’s and Terence Malick’s films. A
final source of influence and satisfaction for White comes
from his “talented writer friends.”
White says WCU was able to give him a good foundation after
he realized he had a lot to learn. He thinks that comprehension
is only attainable when a lack of comprehension is realized.
Words of wisdom
White offers a few insightful tips for English majors. He
recommends taking a course in Shakespeare, as well as one
in modern or contemporary poetry. But, most importantly, White
thinks that students should understand the mechanics of clean
writing. “Many students leave the university with turgid
and ineffective prose,” added White.
Aside from in-class learning, White thinks that learning
for English majors is a never-ending adventure. He believes
that “too many English majors convey an active disinterest
in their own discipline.” He thinks that being an expert
in your field is a must and urges students and graduates to
read often and to push themselves to the outermost boundary
of their ability.
“As a writer, the best moments happen between you and
yourself. . . These quiet celebrations are the height of artistic
satisfaction and ultimately more important than public accolades,"