PLATTSBURGH — There’s something about the North Country Garret Woodward can’t shake.
He left Rouses Point after high school, living in Europe and out west, but he wants to set roots down here.
“If I can survive,” he shrugged, sitting in Koffee Kat in downtown Plattsburgh.
He’s freelance writing to keep his head above water and applying for jobs, struggling alongside his fellow Americans. He’s also putting out a magazine called the Backwoods Bugler, an alternative newspaper that features odd and wonderful stories of the people and places in the North Country instead of the hard-news statistical dread commonly found in newspapers.
Woodward wants to break down the fourth wall and speak directly to his audience, to include them in the situation.
As a student, he never wrote or read more than he was assigned and was studying broadcast journalism at Quinnipiac University when he read “On the Road.”
Suddenly, he knew what he wanted to do for the rest of his life and altered his major to include print journalism.
Woodward went to college when journalism was more than a ghost of itself, though he said it is not dying, but assimilating.
He has spent the past six years covering music events across the country and recently released a novella pieced together from journals he produced in Mormon country in Idaho in 2008.
“I love to write and meet strangers.”
Woodward once hung out with a horseshoe maker who spoke as melted steel fell onto his hands.
Another time, he was up at five in the morning to watch an endangered bird released into the wild.
“Everyone has a different story, and journalism has given me a vehicle to share those stories.”
But as he explored journalism careers he noticed editors wanted to cut up and shorten his stories.
At a recent job interview in Maine for a general assignment position, he was told that his style of writing, while good, wouldn’t fit in the newspaper.