When Le Moyne College's communication professor, Dan Roche started a search for this year's visiting writer -- a two day on campus gig -- he stayed close to home with a repeat of CNY native Steve Featherstone. That's two years in a row. Why? Because Featherstone has a world of writing experience that sprang from these parts.
Featherstone's main lecture was on a writing assignment he had with Harper's Magazine. He wrote from the perspective of an imbedded journalist with the US Army in Afghanistan Human quicksand for the U.S. Army, a crash course in cultural studies, published in Sept. 2007. In addition, he conducted a writing workshop, open to all students, but attended mainly by those studying communications. This centered on making a living as a writer. He professed that it was very possible, even in this economy, to make a living as a writer with one caveat. You may not be doing exactly the kind of writing you initially trained for.
"If you are a good writer and you enjoy it, and you do it well, you will be able to find work," Featherstone said at his workshop in Rielly Hall on the Le Moyne campus.
He noted that even writing press releases could be very satisfying, as he discovered in his first position out of college with Garmon, the then little known GPS producer.
He essentially went in an engaged the engineers and connected these experts with journalists. He himself eventually wrote the guide for using a GPS.
Featherstone makes his home with his wife and former high school sweetheart, Dr. Deborah Mann, (a physician at Upstate) and their two children on Onondaga Hill. He grew up south of Syracuse on Route 11 in Nedrow. He attended Onondaga Central, then Syracuse University as an undergraduate with a dual major of broadcast journalism and history; next he garnered and MFA in fiction writing up on that same hill. So, from fiction training to business writing, he wrote. And says that both have a lot in common with the magazine journalism he now practices.