THE BEST FROM ""OUT WEST by Chuck Woodbury


Email this review


In 1987, Woodbury began turning out a quarterly newspaper, Out West, using a desktop publishing system set up in his motor home. Traveling around ten western states six months of the year, he produced an average of 96 articles annually. Here's a compilation of what he considers his most successful pieces. While Woodbury's writing method is certainly appealing, the results he includes here are too often banal explorations of such matters as the characteristics of the small town--""Residents know their neighbors""; ""The best place to get the news is at the cafÉ."" He discusses the pleasures of walking rather than driving--""You'll be amazed at what you see--houses you never knew were there, names of mailboxes, flowers in bloom. . ."": hardly a fresh take on a familiar theme. Perhaps because he feels compelled to fill the 24 pages of his tabloid-size journal four times a year, the author is far from selective in his choice of subjects; nothing seems too inconsequential for his attention. He informs his readers of a trip to a doughnut shop, of his struggles with voracious mosquitoes, of the advantages of finding cheap accommodations on the road. Some of his passages are amusing, however--for example, his story about a ""Cow Plop"" competition (in Roswell, New Mexico) in which contestants purchase small painted circles in a large field. When all the circles have been sponsored, a cow is let loose. ""You win if the cow plops in your circle."" Then there's a description of Bar Nunn, Wyoming, where the streets were once the runways and taxiways of the now-closed Wardwell Airfield and where an occasional confused pilot sets down his plane even today. By and large, though, a bland and predictable saunter through the American West.

Pub Date: July 17th, 1990
Publisher: Morrow