Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Blonde Faith, Garden & Gun

I spent the day getting beautiful, not in Miss Truvy's House of Hair, but Miss Tracy's big chair for hair. I'm now blonder than I've ever been in my life, with a shorter, bouncier layered bob. Whenever I'm in Miss Tracy's shop, either for my self or my girls' haircuts, I pick up a magazine and I love that there's usually a copy of Garden & Gun around. I've read this magazine since the premiere issue in 2007, and it keeps getting better and better.

I must declaim right now that I'm not crazy about the title for several reasons - it's not really about gardens or guns, and the jobbers who place magazines on racks never know where to shelve it - with the gardening magazines, gun magazines, or outdoors stuff. It's never where it should be - with the literary mags like my other favorite mag, Oxford American. I guess if I had to describe G&G, it would be as the lovechild of Southern Living and Oxford American. Gorgeous photography, brimming over with sense of place, and absolute Southern-fried literary merit.

Back in Miss Tracy's, I tucked my foiled-up head under the dryer and prepared for some enjoyable reading. I have a quirk, reading magazines from back to front, and there on the last page I was treated to a delightful essay by Roy Blount Jr. that involved cameras stealing his soul, his enlarged pores, and two escapees from "Deliverance" named Caleb and Rupe.

After Roy, I skimmed the "Best of the South in the summer" feature and landed on Lee Smith's story about her mother wanting to make her into a lady. I've had a writer crush on Lee Smith ever since reading "Fair and Tender Ladies" a decade ago. About that time, I went to a bookseller's conference and got to hear her albino squirrel story from her days as a local newspaper reporter. My local newspaper reporter stories are not nearly as funny as the albino squirrel in a bag story. I got just two pages into Smith's saga of her parents' passionate relationship when my blonding time was up and I was on to rinsing, cutting, drying, curling, spraying and paying. Miss Tracy was a sweetheart and let me bring the magazine home but only if I promised to return it.

If you like a magazine you can get lost in, pick up Garden & Gun. And if you're looking for a great novel, pick up Lee Smith's "On Agate Hill," oh my goodness I could go on and on about that one.


Anonymous said...

Photo of Miss Tracy's handiwork, please! I enjoyed this gushing and very Southern sounding post. I still don't understand why such a winning sounding magazine would have "gun" in its title, though. Relic?

Anonymous said...

Garden & Gun is a wonderful magazine and is one my two favorite magazines devoted to the South and Southerners (the Oxford American is the other).

Guns and hunting are part of that heritage and remain very popular in our region. The Oct/Nov issue features an engraved shotgun on the cover and articles on fine shotguns, quail hunting, duck hunting and an artisan who makes replicas of frontier knives and tomahawks. All of that probably added a few subscribers unlikely to buy a garden magazine.