My writing life
I am a slow-poke reader and a snail’s-pace writer interested in how we evolve as human beings. Curiosity, if I were a cat, would have killed me by now. A lifetime ago, I was a non-traditional student (single mom, three jobs) at Rollins College in the early 1990s when I became serious about writing. Soon I was awarded an internship with Orlando Magazine, researching and composing snippets of local news. I took autobiographical writing classes that eventually led to my memoir: Undertow: My Escape from the Fundamentalism and Cult Control of The Way International. In 2017 the Annual 2017 Florida Authors and Publishers Association President’s Book Awards recognized Undertow: My Escape from the Fundamentalism and Cult Control of The Way International by Charlene L. Edge, in the category of Autobiography/Memoir, as a Gold medal winner.
In 1994 I graduated from Rollins—summa cum laude—with a B. A. in English and started a writing group with friends. For many years I worked as a technical writer and proposal specialist in the software industry.
My prize-winning poetry has been read at Rollins Alumni Weekend, on public radio WMFE, published in Wordsmith by the Tampa Writers Alliance, in The Florida Writer Magazine, and included in The Rollins Book of Verse 1885-2010. I have traveled to more than twenty countries with my husband and have written about those trips.
My fiction and nonfiction have been published in The Florida Writer magazine, ICSA Today, and on the Grease Spot Café website (for former followers of The Way International). “An Affinity for Windows,” my essay touching on my experience in The Way, was first published in Shifting Gears: Small Startling Moments In and Out of the Classroom.
When calendars permit, I share my fundamentalist cult experiences with college students.
I’m a member of The Florida Writers Association, the International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA), and The Authors Guild, Inc.
Where I come from
Born on the watery Eastern Shore of Maryland, I was the younger of two girls in a Roman Catholic family and our parents sent us to Catholic school. My family frequented nearby Ocean City where I fell in love with the beach. My father, a microbiologist working in public health, taught me two skills vital for concentration: how to play chess and miniature golf—I rarely won against him, but I tried. My mother, tending books at the public library, instilled in me the values of close listening and careful reading. Read, read, read! She paid for my ballet lessons and taught me to read, write, paint, and sew. I skipped kindergarten, which some friends say explains a lot.
A few things that happened to me
After eight years at St. Francis de Sales Catholic school in Salisbury, I attended public high school where I ran hurdles on the first women’s track team, worked on the yearbook, danced in a musical, joined the Spanish and Science clubs and the gymnastics team for fun. When tragedy struck my family—my mother died in 1968—I began to question the veracity of my Catholic faith and launched a “search for truth,” soon joining a Protestant Evangelical group, Young Life. In college I encountered followers of The Way International™ who recruited me, promising knowledge of the “accuracy of God’s Word.” Soon I abandoned college for what became a seventeen-year long commitment to The Way. Following my rejection of it in 1987, I divorced, finished college, and began a new life.
For more on that story, get your copy of Undertow: My Escape from the Fundamentalism and Cult Control of The Way International.
More of my loves
Do you think that what you love gives clues about who you are? I suspect so. Here are some of my loves: popcorn, books, old movies, more books, power walking, a few more books, crime shows, hatha yoga, foreign films, and add more books and rain that pelts kelly-green plants outside my window while I read books, and coffee my husband brews at home. I adore my daughter and son-in-law, both talented artists, and my step-daughter who lovingly care takes animals. With my husband, Dr. Hoyt L. Edge—the love of my life—a Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Rollins College, I enjoy traveling, which keeps me open-minded and ready for anything. Hoyt and I live in Florida near our family, friends, and our beloved grand-dog, Lou.