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.