The Lover/ The Fighter

To be a lover; a gentleman
Like one in a Fitzgerald tragedy
Chasing amor ideal
Striving to master his domestic domain
To live the good life; to eat, drink, and be merry
Three piece suits and a classical music score
Filling his mind with the best of literature

To be a fighter; an adventurer
Like one in a Hemingway tale
Drunk on spirits and constant action
No time to waste sitting, thinking
Searching for the next grand chapter to his story
To dare, and attempt the daring
To feel the rush of adrenaline once more

Two masculine polarities, each with its own merits
With qualities worth aspiring to
But somewhere in the middle, I believe
Is where life’s magic lies


Artwork by my friend, Tosha Michelle, and used by permisson.

The Gentleman Blogger

Thanks to my friend, Tosha, for sharing about my blog and one of my poems.

Everything I Never Told You

Shameless plugs Wednesdays. It is now a thing. I’d like to introduce you to my friend Niles. Niles is not officer, but he is a gentleman. Suddenly, it’s lame sentences Wednesdays.

But I digress. Niles is like a brother to me. I’ve known him for years. He’s a lovely human being and a wonderful writer. I know he would be honored, if you would drop by his blog and check out his work. I’ve provided a link below.



Autobiography –

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A Poem for Niles

Everything I Never Told You


This post was written for a dear friend.  Happy Birthday, Niles. You are the calm to my storm. The voice of reason to my insanity. The jitter to my bug. The Niles to my girly Frasier

Without further ado, I give you my ode to you.

There’s once was a guy from Macon
who like to shake his bacon
his hips, yours for the taking


but seriously….

Still Waters

While other men measure success by titles and cash
He dreams of making text dance over the crevices
of uncharted pages, imaginary characters alive in his mind
He longs to breathe life into figures he has never met.
to fire his own artistic semantic round.
to pen The Great American Novel,
with sophisticated soulful prose that linger

While other men play golf and women
He’s happier with his nose in a book
Getting lost in CS Lewis and Hemingway

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“Self Help to Self Harm: The Dubious Guide to Life, Love, and Relationships”- a review

My friend, Tosha Michelle, is a woman of many talents. She is a gifted singer, writer, and artist. I am in awe of the skill she displays at all three. I would be happy if I could do one as well as she. In addition to her creative talents, she is one of the kindest souls I have had the good fortune to encounter. And her quirky sense of humor is the perfect compliment to her well-rounded personality.

She put her poetic talents on display in her book Confessions of a Reformed Southern Belle: A Poet’s Collection of Love, Loss, and Renewal. She also showed the beginnings of a penchant for long book titles. But I digress… She opened up herself to her readers with the beauty of her words and creativity.

Now Tosha Michelle is back with her own unique addition to the self help genre: Self Help to Self Harm: The Dubious Guide to Life, Love, and Relationships. In its pages she draws from her life experience to give both women and men advice on dealing with the opposite gender, and life in general. She does this with a combination of openness, grace, humor, and confidence that only a daughter of the South can.

But don’t let the title fool you. There is plenty of wisdom in this book. Reading it feels like she is sitting with me, sharing a box of Godiva chocolates (kidding- I would let her keep those all to herself), and conversing about life with the sister I never had. This is a book I will enjoy plucking from my bookshelf regularly for its wonderful glimpse into the mind and heart of one of my favorite people. And I hope you will read and enjoy this book as well.

You can purchase it from Barnes & Noble here

And here



20 Random Questions With Author, Raelee May Carpenter

My friend and La Literati cohost, Tosha, has posted interviews with guests we have had on our podcast to her blog. You can find her blog here. It seemed like fun, so I invited our recent guest, the writer Raelee May Carpenter, to answer 20 random questions from me. I hope you enjoy reading, and check out Raelee’s books if you haven’t already.


1. What three items do you always have with you?

A pencil or pen with sticky notes. My iPod. And lip balm, because I am an addict.

2. If you were going to write an article about yourself, what would the headline be?

“Grace In the Gutter”

3. If you were a drink, what would you be? Why?

Irish Breakfast Tea, bold yet surprisingly comforting. But with fresh cream and local honey, because I ain’t low cal.

4. What childhood fear do you still have as an adult?

Spiders. Seriously. Not even Charlotte could save me from that.

5. If you could choose just one thing to change about the world, what would it be?

Everyone would quit devaluing people based on stupid things like poverty, lack of education, nationality, developmental disabilities, etc. It would solve so many other problems if we truly believed all were created equal.

6. What’s your favorite poem?

It’s a hard choice, but “The Death of the Hired Man” by Robert Frost immediately comes to mind. It’s such a good picture of grace, and I love the line, “Home is where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.”

So either that or Psalm 46. It’s so descriptive and inspiring, my favorite Psalm, definitely. It got under my skin in a big way when a certain politician misquoted it in a huge televised speech a while back. I’m still trying to let that go. If I’m ever famous enough to meet said politician, I’ll probably make a little mural of my favorite Psalm—with the right words, frame it, and present it to him as a gift.

7. Does darkness soothe you or frighten you?

It depends. I love sunshine during the day, but when I’m trying to sleep, I need dark. What I don’t like is gray, like the sky can’t make up its mind. That’s just frustrating.

8. If you ruled your own country, who would you get to write your national anthem?

Adam Levine, because if my country’s gonna have an anthem, I want it to be a Hit. Mad royalties and all that.
Seriously, though, am I allowed to go back in time? I’d really want Fanny Crosby to write it. She was awesome. “Blessed Assurance” is my anthem. If I have to pick someone who’s alive today, I don’t know…maybe Stevie Wonder?

9. If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would play you? What would the title be?

Geez, I don’t know. I love Taraji Henson, but I’m so pathetically white. How’s Keira Knightley’s American accent? Maybe Natalie Portman, Anne Hathaway, or Ellie Kemper, who plays Kimmy Schmidt. Haha, how’s that for variety?
The title would be “ImPossible.”

10. Clowns- creepy or cool?

Creepy. So, so creepy. I think It ruined clowns for my entire generation. Thank you, Stephen King.

11. If you made a documentary, what would it be about?

Modern Day Abolition work

12. What’s your favorite song?

Today, I’ll say Britt Nicole’s “Still That Girl,” because hazel eyes notwithstanding, I am that girl.

13. Your favorite country to visit?

Hard choice. I have a list of places that I haven’t been yet, but Ireland is a wonderful place that I have been, and I’d like to go back someday. There are still a lot of places here in the US that I want to see or go back to.

14. Does pressure motivate you?

I have ADHD, so I have this constant drive in my brain and my limbs that makes it hard for me to relax. I tend to get a lot done on my normal setting, and added pressure is more of a distraction than anything else.

15. Does love dry up your creative juices, or make them flow faster?

Faster. Definitely.

16. Do you hear voices?

I can hear my character’s voices. That’s why I’m so good at writing dialogue. So good, in fact, I can make you hear them, too. 

17. Are you the paranoid type or calm, cool, and collected?

I’m not paranoid, but I do have ADHD, so I don’t think anyone would describe me as “calm.” Haha.

18. Narnia or Middle Earth?

Oh, I don’t know. Narnia is the fantasy of my childhood, but Middle Earth has so much adventure! I’d also really, really love to have a TARDIS. So many ‘verses, so little time!

Unless you do have a TARDIS… 😉

19. Are you more like fire or earth?

Fire. Yeah. LOL

20. What makes you, you?

Oh, I think you’d have to ask God that. I am His, as He made me, and I’m still trying to figure it all out.

Raelee May Carpenter is the author of “The Lincoln High Project”, “Kings & Shepherds”, and the upcoming novel, “Liberation Song”. You can find information on her and her books at


Confessions of a Reformed Southern Belle- a review

Confessions of a Reformed Southern Belle: A Poet’s Collection of Love, Loss, and Renewal is the first book of poems published by Tosha Michelle. In its pages, readers will find an unique voice; a voice that cries out for universal good in the form of justice, understanding, and love. Her love of books, writing, and creativity in general, come through in vivid display as well.

Join her as she explores the trio of themes from the subtitle: love, loss, and renewal. Fall under the trance of her melodic wordplay, just as I did years ago. Yes, hers is a familiar voice to me as I am fortunate to call her my friend. And I am excited for others who will be introduced to her talent by this book. A word of caution though- be careful of that narcissistic, rock star cat of hers.



Read more of Tosha Michelle’s writing here

Buy her book in paper and digital formats here

The Introverted Dog

My grandfather loved animals. My dad and aunt grew up with animals running all around their farm. Most of their pet dogs and cats wandered into the yard, where dad fed them. And, not surprisingly, they stayed. By the time I was old enough to remember, my grandparents had three beagles, at least two of which they had bought. A few years later, my parents bought two beagles for my brother and me. We enjoyed our dogs. They kept us fit running all around and gave us love and companionship. And I think our dogs, named Smokey and JJ, received the same from us.

We used to spend one or two Saturdays a month at my grandparents’ house (about a forty minute drive away) to visit and to help in the garden, especially when it was time to plant or to pick the fruits and vegetables we grew. I could write a whole blog post on my experiences with the garden, but I have other plans for this post.

My grandparents’ beagles, named Scooter, Belle, and Dot, were all different in appearance and personality. Scooter was the adventurous one, brown-headed with a black and white body. He was gone half the time we were over there, just roaming the neighborhood. Belle was the easygoing one- black, brown, and white spotted and bigger than the others- she would play with us some and let us pet her. Dot was the enigma. I’m not sure if my grandparents bought her, or if she just showed up in the yard one day and stayed. But she was different than the other two dogs. In color, she was white with brown spots. And she was shy and skittish. If any of us were outside, she stayed in the doghouse in the corner of the yard. Most of the time if she was in the yard and she saw someone coming, she would cower into the doghouse and stay until the coast was clear. My grandfather was the only person she would come to- until she came to me.

My grandfather passed away when I was eight years old. One Saturday, somewhere around a year later, I didn’t have anything to do after lunch so I walked out onto the back porch. There stood Dot about twenty yards across the backyard, eyeing me suspiciously. She didn’t run- just stood there looking to see what I would do next. This was my chance. I wanted to be like my grandfather and have Dot come to me. I don’t know how long it took as I talked to her very softly and held my hand out, urging her to me. It was probably half an hour, but it seemed like twice as long. The whole time I prayed no loud noise or other person would scare her away.

She wouldn’t bite if you got close enough to touch her. I had helped give her medicine before, which involved giving it to her as she was pinned up against the wall of the doghouse with no escape. But she didn’t like it at all. This time was different. She came to me out in the open and of her own free will. Slowly, she decided she trusted me enough to let me pet her for a while before she decided to back off and retreat to her house. I remember that I couldn’t wait to tell my dad what had happened. I read an article online talking about beagles and started thinking the beagles I grew up around and talking about them with my dad. The picture below is a dog whose coloring resembles Dot’s.

Janfrey Georgette of Dufosee


I am deep but simple

I am a loner and a people-lover

Though some ask for my perspective

I’ll never claim to be a sage

I wear my guarded heart on my sleeve

I am a free spirit in a cage

I seek wisdom and knowledge

I value creativity and individuality

I am a romantic and a thinker

I am self-conscious but proud

I crave deep conversation- real connection

And feel most at home in nature

I see beauty wherever I look

Music transports me

My nose is often in a book

My family and friends keep me sane

To love and be loved makes me feel alive

This is me- my autobiography

I wonder, who do you see?


Top Ten Fragrances

In my last post, I made a top ten book list. It was difficult to narrow down all the books I have read into ten, but my list was a very good one, I think. I think it represented my reading tastes and interests very well. While I wrote that post, I got the idea to do a top ten fragrance list, as this is another great interest of mine. This list was not much easier to write, but here goes…

I came upon my interest in fragrances by way of wetshaving. My dad has never used aftershave or any type of fragrance, so I was on my own when I began my search for an aftershave. In the process of browsing the toiletries sections of various stores, I began noticing all of the fragrances that were available. But, still I settled for aftershave for several years. Then, late in my teenage years I got more serious about trying to find a fragrance to buy. My interest has grown exponentially since. So, here is my top ten fragrance list in the order in which I first tried them.

Shulton Old SpiceI am a huge fan of Old Spice. I always have the deodorant, aftershave, and cologne around. This is a good first cologne for a man of any age. It smells clean and pleasant, with notes such as lemon, carnation, cinnamon, vanilla and musk. And, to the surprise of many, it was originally for women.



Ralph Lauren Polo– This was the first fragrance I purchased at a department store. My best friend had been wearing it, and I loved how it smelled so I bought a bottle. I love Polo on a tester strip and on other people. But on me it doesn’t smell as good. But it still makes my top ten list. It is a very deep, masculine fragrance with notes such as: thyme, patchouli, vetiver, tobacco and oakmoss.



Geoffrey Beene Grey Flannel This is my other fragrance choice from this list that was influenced by my best friend. I had not heard of it when I first saw it in his room. But I smelled it and knew I wanted a bottle. Luckily, this is a fragrance that smells more expensive than it is. The notes include: neroli, bergamot, violet, geranium, vetiver, and cedar.



Guerlain Vetiver If I had to pick one fragrance, a signature fragrance, to wear all the time, Vetiver would be the one. It is just right in every aspect for me. The notes are well-balanced. It smells great in every season. It fits perfectly any occasion. I love green fragrances, and vetiver-focused ones in general (vetiver is a type of grass). This was my second experience with a vetiver fragrance (Frederic Malle’s Vetiver Extraordinaire was the first). I hope to never be without a bottle of it. This is one of the rare cases where I seek out the vintage formula, as it is much better than the current product. Notes include: lemon, nutmeg, pepper, tobacco, and vetiver



Rive Gauche pour homme– One of my favorite categories of fragrances is barbershop style fragrances, and this is a prime example. Rive Gauche smells spicy and clean- Pinaud Clubman meets Brut meets Barbasol shaving foam. It’s classicly masculine, but without feeling out of date to my nose. Notes include rosemary, star anise, coumarin, guac wood, and patchouli.



Chanel Pour Monsieur– Most of the time, I don’t pay much attention to fragrance conventions such as when, where, and by whom a fragrance should be worn. Pour Monsieur is an exception. This is my special occasion fragrance. I reserve it for times when I put on my black suit to attend a night at the symphony or theatre, for example. You will be noticed in a good way when you wear PM. Notes include: lemon, verbena, cardamom, and cedar.



Bvlgari BlackIf I were ever to describe a fragrance as intelligent, I would apply it to Black. Most fragrances have three stages of development: top notes, heart notes, and base notes. Black does not progress that way. Instead, you smell all the notes come in and out at different times throughout the time you wear it. I love that it doesn’t have a standard development, as my nose isn’t sharp enough to notice how fragrances typically develop through the “pyramid”. Notes include: lapsang souchong, leather, amber, and vanilla.



By Kilian A Taste Of HeavenAlong with vetiver, lavender is a favorite note of mine. I have my friend Jane to thank for suggesting I try AToH after she learned that I love Caron Pour un Homme. A full bottle of this would be a big splurge, but I will always have at least a sample of it in my fragrance wardrobe. Notes include: orange flower, rose, lavender, and tonka bean.



Bespoke Fragrance– It is a nice perk of having friends who experiment with fragrace oils to make custom blends. A dear friend of mine made a custom blend for me after she learned how much I love lavender notes and A Taste Of Heaven, specifically. She did a very good job of replicating the notes. So I naturally had to include this one in my list.


Chanel #5– I wanted to include at least one feminine fragrance on my list. It was between this one and Guerlain Shalimar. My philosophy with fragrances is that if I like the way a fragrance smells, I wear it. It doesn’t matter to me which side of the counter it comes from. And Chanel #5 smells very good. The aspect of this one that stand out for me is aldehydes. They smell of clean linen brought in from the fresh air. Almost everyone knows this since Marilyn Monroe popularized it. If you haven’t smelled it, you should. Notes include: aldehydes, neroli, jasmine, iris, sandalwood, amber, and vanilla.



Honorable mention– I couldn’t leave out two from Guerlain- Habit Rouge and Shalimar. HR reminds me of a more sophisticated Old Spice. “Sweet dust” is how Luca Turin describes it in Perfumes: The Guide. Shalimar is rich, spicy, sweet, and powdery. In a word, luxurious.

So, here you have my top ten fragrance list, with a couple more thrown in for good measure. What do you think of my list? I would love to hear from you. As always, thanks for reading.