One of the hottest new magzine debuts of last year is Garden & Gun Magazine: 21st Century Southern America. No. I'm not kidding. It features two of the south's great love affairs - beautifully manicured greenery and the business end of a gun. You'll find their editorial info on their website if you want to pitch them.
Who wouldn't tell its founders they're crazy if they heard the magazine idea pitched? And yet it fits so perfectly. The southern belles in their gardens sipping tea and the men out shooting stuff.
I was sucked into the dixie vortex first by my favorite southern authors William Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor, and Harper Lee. Then by my husband who introduced me to the shocking sight of a deer hanging up out in the shed, waiting to be skinned. I've been coerced into firing a gun and eating fried okra. These things never would have happened without me marrying into the south.
I do sort of live in the south - but not really. Missouri is among those contested states that mainly had southern sympathies during the Civil War, but St. Louis is too urban to feel really southern. It's more Paris light than Gone With the Wind. But I visit southern realms every time we travel 100 miles south in Missouri to my in-laws farmhouse. It sits alone amidst the acres of cotton, soybeans, and corn.
From what I've seen from this border state, there is something a little crazy and a lot wonderful about southern culture. Sometimes backward and yet beautiful. Honest and uncompromising. Its mystique rises like cream in this new magazine.