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Spotlight On: Oscar White

Pathos Literary Magazine is excited to introduce our new online column Spotlight On: A 5-question Q&A series featuring student- and graduate-artists of PSU, with the goals of prompting conversation, inspiring and motivating fellow artists, and building community.

Oscar White is a writer and recent graduate of PSU who contributed to Pathos Literary Magazine in the Spring 2018 edition. We asked him some questions about writing.

Q: How have you continued with your art after graduation?

A: After graduating from Portland State, I spent some time traveling all over the Pacific Northwest, ultimately ending up at our family’s cabin in Eastern Washington. There, I started a novel that I had been very excited to get onto the page. Fiction has been a passion of mine for a long time, and writing is something I strive to do everyday. Sometimes it is just a note in my journal, or a line of poetry that sparks a new idea for a story. I am currently living in Bellingham Washington where I do workshops in the local literary community and readings when the opportunity arises. I hope to pursue an MFA in Creative Writing this next fall.

Q: How do you think your work at PSU has helped you with what you’re doing now?

A: PSU provided a wonderful community of writers (and readers) for me. It proved to be far more valuable than just the curriculum that I learned in the classroom. Over the two years of me being there, I created relationships with my peers that I intend to keep for my whole writing career. This includes the faculty, which went above and beyond my expectations. Working with them and the other BFA/MFA students was by far the most beneficial experience PSU had to offer. Pathos and other BFA readings really helped encourage me when it came to reading aloud and striving for my goals of publication.

Q: What is your favorite time of day to work, and why?

A: It varies. Like a lot of writers, I have many products of insomnia. I tend to write in later evenings and sometimes into the early morning. A writing peer of mine once said that “the best art comes from restlessness.” I’d have to agree.

Q: What project(s) are you currently working on?

A: I am currently working on a novel based in the Montana Territory in the late 19th century. This is a dual narrative told in the third person; jumping from chapter to chapter. This calls for a ton of research which I thoroughly enjoy. When I get stuck or frustrated with this piece (more often than you’d think), I work on my short fiction and poetry.

Q: What is your favorite book, and why? 

A: Frankenstein, hands down. I write a lot of gothic fiction, and there is no better example of sympathetic imagination than that of the creature in this novel. Shelley masters the human experience in a very uncanny character. Romanticism is the era in literature that I find most influential.

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