BY BLOW A
Collection of Steve Blow's Award-Winning Columns from The Dallas Morning
by Steve Blow
Three Forks Press, 2001
Reviewed by John Troesser
Blow has been a columnist for the Dallas Morning News since 1989. He has been
recognized as Texas' Leading Columnist. Thanks to his photograph on the cover,
now you can recognize him too.
Blow was named outstanding journalism
student in college. That doesn't mean he automatically became Texas' Leading Columnist
when his turn came, it simply meant he had the potential. The respect and acknowledgement
of your peers is hard earned. In journalism it is very hard earned.
didn't set out to be a columnist, which is probably why his stories are so entertaining.
It's our opinion that anyone setting out to be a columnist, should not be one.
Blow is a reporter who recognizes a good human-interest story and then knows how
to tell it.
In his forward, Blow describes his promotion to columnist
(he claims to have been happy as a reporter) and his editor's sage advice of "let
your subjects be the stars in your column - not you". He was probably given the
column because he was already practicing that advice with his reports and interviews,
but editors have to say something.
Steve Blow is from East Texas (Tyler)
and that's an asset when you write about people. East Texas provides a rich stew
of benevolent characters. Bad characters, should they be needed, are always available
in the form of visitors from Arkansas or Louisiana. He can write about both, but
his preference is for the former.
The collection is his personal choice
from 1,500 columns he's written in his 12 years as columnist. The subjects are
certainly the stars - but there's enough of Mr. Blow to appreciate where his observations
are coming from. The man is very heavy on observation - refreshingly short on
For people who like to live vicariously, he provides more than
enough adventures. Scuba diving, flying in jets and other "Type-A" behaviors are
described in brutal detail. Then it really gets scary. He writes on the really
dangerous adventures - like walking 16 miles to work in Dallas - on a Monday morning.
What makes the columns work so well is the thought behind them. Or on occasion
the absence of thought. A $5.00 bill in the mail brought him to one story while
a newspaper plea for money took him to another. Mr. Blow might take the bait for
some stories, but he holds the hook comfortably - not in his cheek or lip. When
Steve is surprised; the reader is surprised. When Steve is not surprised; the
reader is still surprised.
If you don't get enough unpleasant people
in your life, he'll introduce you to a couple of those too. But just one or two.
There's a lot of humor, a little sadness and some columns that defy description
- you'll just feel better for having read them. It's definitely a nightstand book.
We'd like to see most columnists in Texas with their best columns published
in book form. It might give Steve Blow another title to claim. The diverse subjects
of his columns are entertaining, but through Blow's words one also feels a sense
of shared wonder.