Soul Food Love
Peanut Chicken Stew
Congressional Cookbook: The Junior League and the Congress
Library Desk: Doors and Desks
Sleigh Bed: Texas and Louisianna
Keepsakes: Earth Stars and Sky Stars
Portrait Table: Icebergs and Angels
Battle of Nashville: Slaves and Soldiers
Maid of Honor Portrait: Three Third Grade Bridesmaids and a Sexy Brilliant Woman Priest
Red Dining Room: Table and Chairs
Jubilee Singers with Lavender: Alfred Stieglitz and Fisk
Mirror Portrait Caroline: Caroline and her Portrait
Sofa: Couches and Dreams
Silver Coffee Urn, Saul Martin Portrait: Zelda Sayre and Gatsby
Harlem Chairs: Tammany Hall and Harlem
Tuskegee Wardrobe: Brownies and Smithies
Portrait Chair: Harper Lee and Sigourney
Dear's Ice Cubes
Working Library: Cynara and Windsor, and Hope
Me and My Blog
Fort Pillow Massacre: Nathan Bedford Forrest and Madison Smartt Bell
My Boots: Nancy Sinatra and Roy Rogers
Longpage, 1913: Stephen Stills and Frank Lloyd Wright
Cold Cucumber Soup
Six Cases of Cookbooks: Julia Child and Caroline Williams
Magnolias: Magnolias and Magnolia
Statute of Alexander Pushkin: Pushkin and Othello
Take The Ow Out Of Now: Buddha and Nietzche
Stars and Bars: Stars and Stripes and Stars and Bars
Joan's Nicoise
New York Times Editorial: Copyright and the First Amendment, or Margaret Mitchell and John Seigenthaler
Soul Food Love

    Magnolias: Magnolias and Magnolia

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    We love magnolias in Nashville. My favorite Music City magnolias are the ones around Music Row on a street called Magnolia near Belmont College. Big magnolia trees line both sides of Magnolia and  let me know we’re in the South.
                 I grew up with flowers. My grandmother was an extraordinary rose gardener. She and her friends would have daily rose competitions in the summer. She was from Alabama. We called her “Dear” and that’s a magnolia name for a grandmother if I ever heard one, but Dear didn’t do magnolias.
                Dear always loved to exhibit her flowers with water and I do too. When I was a child her rose garden boasted a goldfish pond she had had dug and cemented. In my Detroit, black ladies grew roses Back in that day, everybody black knew, yellow roses were the proper colored ladies flower. Dear grew plenty many yellow roses. Me I grow pink-almost-orange roses and almost wild flowers and I think about magnolia blossoms and Magnolia.
                 Magnolia is also the name of a 1999 film by Paul Thomas Anderson. I loved the movie Magnolia. The very existence of that movie Magnolia argues for the existence of such a thing as a southern movie.
                 Everyone agrees there is such a thing as southern literature. Few agree there is such a thing as southern film. Of course there are iconic films about the South, think Gone with the Wind and Steel Magnolias, but both of these are Hollywood movies with Hollywood aesthetics. For me a southern movie would have to convey, not just depict, a sense of the ineffable. There’s got to be enough religion. Just enough family. Just enough concern with class and caste. And the past. And there’s got to be something sufficiently gothic about the joint.
                Craig Brewer’s Black Snake Moan and Hustle and Flow are wonderful southern movies. Honeydrippers is an almost southern movie about a juke joint in the South.
                The Christmas we first moved into this house, a friend gave me a basket she thought had been used to cradle the babies of the enslaved while they worked the fields. She brought us the basket because she knew we loved history. She brought it filled with magnolia leaves.
                Magnolias are large. They are bold. They are not fragile. They are beautiful. They are abundant. They eclipse lesser realities. They are a part of the prettiness of the south and the landscape of our living room. They have a redemptive quality. I could make a southern movie about that field baby basket full of magnolia leaves.