The Tao of Disney/Pixar

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Eleven years ago, I gave birth to a beautiful bright eyed little girl. And with little girls, (Well kids in general) comes the submersion into what kids see as life. Not only do I have a daughter, at the time of her birth, my sister already had a 1 ½ year old and was expecting baby boy number two. The songs they sing, the television shows and movies they watch, which means for the past ten years I have lived a life with princesses and frogs, sponges , tomatoes and Muppets as the background music to my life.

My daughter, like most kids, has an affinity to Disney/Pixar movies and in ten years I have seen and heard them all as I go about my daily life.

There has been a weird side effect to the constant of singing princesses and animals, toys and superheroes that inhabit these films.   Their quotes and sayings, their little lessons have become my Tao of sorts without me being really aware of it happening.

The first movie that I can really remember leaving its mark on me, no matter how subconsciously, was Finding Nemo. We watched that movie so often that we all knew it by heart. I thought it cute and funny, as all Pixar movies are. But when I am struggling, when times get a little hard, I find myself humming

“Just keep swimming, just keep swimming,”

 

And suddenly, in my very best Dorie voice I sing and I feel better. That little mantra makes me feel that I could be drowning, I could be floundering in the deep end, but if I just keep going, I will make it to the end.

 

The first movie I took my daughter to was The Incredibles, which was a huge undertaking for a 1 ½ year old who could not sit still for more than five minutes at a time. When my daughter began walking, within an hour she was running and she hasn’t really stopped. But I bravely took her to the movie, a 2 and half hour long, movie for a kid who my mother called affectionately called Flo-Jo. After we saw The Incredibles, she became Dash, because …well… because.

Though the movie was about a family of superheroes, one line spoken by the bespectacled Edna Mode stuck with me,

“I never look back, darling. It distracts from the now.” — Edna Mode

Looking back is a waste of time, you can’t change what was you can only move forward, focus on now and everything else will fall into place.

 

Whenever the doubt starts to creep in I remember that and I move forward. There are dozens more I could go through, like the years I spent in Princess purgatory, listening as Cinderella reminded me that , “If you keep on believing, the wishes that you make will come true,” And Princess Tiana singing “Almost there,” Which ran on a loop for three months straight.

But even though these songs and movies, played over and over in my head, they act as a subliminal motivation of sorts. These movies that are supposedly made for children are the most uplifting and inspirational I have seen in my life. They stay with me, reminding me that there is always hope, that dreams do come true.

My favorite quote, from Walt Disney himself, was just blurb on a screen that my daughter asked me to read for her as Meet the Robinsons was ending. Being five at the time, she could read, but not fast enough to catch everything. The quote, which I feel sums up every message in every Disney, Pixar ,DreamWorks or any other movie since the creation of kids entertainment has stayed at the back of my mind,

 

“Around here, however, we don’t look back for very long. We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths. “–Walt Disney

 

It’s the way I live and the way I think, it is my Tao, my path to success and happiness and a life worth living. Even when in my darkest moments, when I wonder if my writing is worth anything, is it worthy, am I as talented as I think I am, that keeps me motivated. Maybe I am not everyone’s cup of tea, but what I do has merit. My life is a life well lived and in the end, I want to look back and say, I did all I could. I lived a good life.

Even if I struggle and sometimes find myself sinking, I just remember that no matter what I will be fine.

As long as I,

            “Just keep swimming, just swimming, just keep swimming, swimming swimming………

 

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93 pages of iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii……..

I am a single mom. I am the sole provider for my daughter and I which means, as with most people, I have a full time job. I own my home. I have a car. I take care of every aspect of our lives, on my own.  I’m also a full time student.  I have a full course load this semester because I want to get my BA and move directly into the Master’s program so that I can work at a University in the English department, possibly as faculty and continue to write.  Yea, I am writer, working on my third book, second in a series.

My daughter has ADHD and some days, even when she’d take her meds, are just hard.  She’s also eleven and that is when the pre-teen attitude comes into play, so I have my hands full there as well.

Oh yea, did I mention that I have Lupus?  Yep, I do.

I say all of this for one reason and one reason only, to let everyone know that nothing in this world is impossible without the proper motivation!

I am so motivated that I have designated Sunday’s as Mommy day.  I still make Sunday dinner and watch movies with my daughter.  I bring her to ballet twice a week (even though I have been banned from entering the building) and I still hang with my family and watch football and go to my nephew’s birthday parties and sporting events, when I can.

But I also push myself to exhaustion sometimes. Just last night I was in bed, pouring over Algebra that has long since floated out of my memory to make room for more useful things like  who is my favorite member of the Black Dagger Brotherhood  ( Right now… gotta say I love V and Z).Did Mini Me take a bath before bed, or what time I will be able to sit down and purge on my favorite TV shows or who is having the Saints game at their house on Sunday, where did Mini Me leave her ballet slippers or did I remember to defrost something for dinner. Algebra is no longer in my wheel house.  So I struggled trying to remember theorems and formulas only to have an inspired thought, so what was I to do?

What any sensible writer/student would do. I gave up on math and worked on my book.

Somewhere between romance and heartbreak, I must have fallen asleep because when my alarm went off at six fifteen, I found myself with a notebook spiral  imprint on my face, my math book under my leg and 93 pages of i….. on my still running computer.

No this is not the first time it’s happened. And it won’t be the last.

And I love it.

As I pressed a towel to my face and started my coffee maker before waking up princess Cranky pants to start her day, I had a moment to review what I had accomplished the night before. Seven chapters of math, a literature paper, History homework, humanities assignment and 1200 words that were actual words.

My Mini Me was dressed and out of the door on time, fed, groomed and ready to start her day. By the time I exited the house ten minutes later, I had a spring in my step ready to start a new day because even a morning spent deleting 93 pages of i… means that I am on the right track to reach my goal. Even with all of the things that could possibly work against me in my quest for greatness I wake up and see that ….. Nothing is impossible.

Sexy doesn’t always equal sex

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I noticed that lots of independent authors are writing stories that they classify as erotic or sexy when it’s just back to back sex scenes, neither real story nor real plot just people falling into bizarre sexual scenarios and that is classified as sexy.

Not true.

All sex is not sexy.  Sometimes its violent and disturbing and completely unrealistic, that’s not sexy. I don’t find being back alley pummeled a sexy thing.  I find that the sexiest things are rarely the actual act but the anticipation.   Maybe it’s just a matter of taste or what is expected, but not all sex has to be an act of aggression or some kinky thing that is meant to shock.

Don’t get me wrong, aggression is wonderful.  And I love a good shock, but not at the expense of my characters. I love when the unexpected happens, but the tease so something wonderful is the best part. That’s why it’s called a Strip Tease, it entices the anticipation of what you know is coming.

****Also, side note, weird does not equal erotic.  There are so many series that a published independently with the most bizarre story lines and I know that there must be a  audience for it,I just cannot  understand it.  Far beyond the S&M world that has exploded in the wake of Fifty Shades of Grey where the sexy stranger has a twisted sensibility of what is sexy, things have gone from sexy to perverse.  Did you know there are series’ about women having sex with dinosaurs? DINOSAURS! I say sex because honestly, that isn’t a relationship. I mean, Jurassic Park is not remotely sexy, it’s not a sexual thriller like Body Heat or Basic Instinct- It’s Jurassic Freakin PARK.. so Why?  Who reads this and.. WHY? Sweet Baby Jesus on Fire. WHY? ***

 

Back to what I was saying…Sexy, in my opinion, is the flirtation of a couple. That feeling of  -will this be it? In my book, The First to Fall there are several example of the tease, but this, one of the first true flirting scenes is my favorite:

            “She understands. You’re just a hard man to forget.” She met his eyes, he paused, his cup half way to his lips. Silently, he placed the cup back on the table, his eyes smoldered and she could feel the room warm as the electricity in air rose. The lights dimmed slightly and flickered. The other patrons glanced up a few groaned but no one paid a great deal of attention to the change.

 “Really?” He asked a twinkle in his eyes. In this light, they seemed more of an aquamarine than turquoise. He leaned back in his seat, openly observing her. She waved a hand at him.

 “Please,” She snorted, trying to rein in the growing warmth of her body. “You know you’re gorgeous.” She said her voice low. “Just look around the room. The women are eating you up.” He glanced around the room and found that a few women and a couple of men were openly ogling him.  Embarrassed, he shook it off. 

“Once Ms. Deadwood got a taste, albeit a tiny taste, she realized that you are something special.”

 “What about you?” He had absently reached for her hand; his thumb stroking the delicate skin of her inner wrist, and her mouth went dry. His voice deepened and he leaned closer, his eyes darkening to a deep shade of navy.

 “Would you like a taste?” Her cheeks grew hot and she crossed her ankles squeezing her thighs closed as a new heat began to grow.  He gave her a wicked smile and in one swift movement, he pulled her chair closer until her thighs were trapped between his legs, holding her still just in case she’d planned on running again. His smile widened and those dimples made an appearance. Damn those dimples.

 “Are you flirting with me, Detective?” She finally managed once she found her voice. She’d meant for it to sound light and fun, instead it came out low and throaty.  She couldn’t help but focus on his lips; they were full and soft, tilted up in the most delicious smile. She wanted to nip his bottom lip with her teeth.

“Well, I’m trying my damnedest.” Her stomach fluttered at his intimate tone.  “How am I doing?”   He had her hands again, his finger around her wrist, pulling her closer still.

 

Simple. A conversation between people we know are attracted to each other but haven’t made that move just yet. As in life, we flirt with people all the time, but when it’s THE PERSON, a simple joke can become wrought with sexual tension in a split second. That is the art of seduction.  That unexpected  turn that has your heart racing and your palms sweating wondering- Is he/she going to kiss me? Should I kiss him/her?

 

A mood needs to be set .  No one wants to be sexy when they are in danger, but when that danger passes, even  for a brief moment.. that’s when sex is right. That need to feel alive and the best way to do that sometimes is with your protector, your savior.  There is a reason we call the protagonist the Hero. It’s sexy to feel like someone is there to catch you when you fall, to hold you and bring you back from the verge. That hot, deep whisper against your skin, that’s what’s sexy. Strong arms holding you, protection.  That’s sexy.

“I have you.” A deep baritone whispered close to her ear. She stopped moving, feeling hard arms encircling her waist, holding her body still against a very masculine, very naked body. His hands were large, strong as they moved up her ribs, his lips brushing the tender flesh just beneath her ear.

“I have you, love.” He spoke in a language that was long dead, so ancient it had no name, yet she understood. It was the language of the primordials, something that she had known when she was younger. The language of her grandmother.  

“Give me your lips.” He said and she felt her body turn into liquid heat, melting against him. She turned her head in the gloom and his lips captured hers. Soft full lips pressed against hers, his tongue sweeping past her lips, tasting her. She moaned, leaning back into him, her hand moving up to cup the back of his head, holding him, bringing him closer. His head was smooth and cool beneath her fingertips. “Open your eyes and breath,” He breathed into her mouth, his fingers tracing the curve of her breasts, his body hot and erect against the small of her back. She did as he said, slowly opening her eyes and gasped in surprise.

Maybe I am biased since I love a sexy story, but like I said, sometimes the sexiest part of the story has nothing to do with the actual act. People need to realize that what is sexy is not kink, which can be sexy but not necessarily. Sex is not the story; it’s not the point of these two characters coming into each other’s lives. Even the most sexually charged characters have to have more than just sex. They need a true connection a real feel that these people belong together.  One of the sexiest things I have ever written, was the moment that led up to sex, that tenderness and affection that lead to the raw abandon of two people who cannot be without each other, yet in the moments before- he barely touches her.

 

In the blush of the fire light, her caramel skin glowed golden, the thin lace of her panties and bra slick to her skin, her nipples straining the thin material.  She looked magnificent, like something out of a dream, which she was, after all.  He motioned for her to sit beside him on the rug in front of the fire.  Holding her arm, he looked at it .The dozens of tiny holds looked painful, and her arm was swelling and bruising in the dim light. He flinched at the sight of it.

 Carefully, he reached for the first aid kit and began cleaning the wound. “What happened?” He asked.  Quietly and through clenched teeth, she told him of her battle with the demon. Guilt and anger played across his face in tandem.

“I tried to call, but didn’t you answer. Why won’t you look at me?” She inhaled sharply as he began patting her arm dry, pain racketing through her body in waves.  He couldn’t face her; instead he focused on wrapping bandage around her forearm, securing it. When he was done, he turned away, not able to meet her gaze. Instead, he focused on the crackling fire.

“Eli, look at me.” She touched his cheek turning him to face her. He kept his eyes averted, staring at her lips, her earlobe, anywhere except her eyes. He was ashamed of himself.

 “I can’t. You need to take everything off. I’ll put them in the dryer.” He said referring to her underwear, his voice thick and low. She stood slowly, willing him to look at her as she slowly released the clasp of her bra, and let the material slip off of her arms and to the floor. He turned to watch her out of sheer need, unable to explain it; he was compelled to look at her.  When she touched the elastic of her panties, she could hear him inhale sharply in anticipation. She took her time, pushing one side off of her hips, then the other, her injured arm held closely to her chest. As she moved to get the robe; her entire body covered in gooseflesh; he’d never seen anything so sexy in his life.

He reached up and took the band from her hair, letting it fall in drying curls past her shoulders, singed chunks falling to the floor. She looked at him with heavy lidded eyes, her moist lips slightly parted. He grazed her lips with his, a touch so light it could have been a thought, no other parts of them touching. She closed her eyes, and felt the void of him in front of her. She felt him move behind her where he took the towel and began drying her hair, from the top of her head, gently moving down.

“Your hair is burned.” He whispered close to her ear, before he took his time, separating the tangled waves with his fingers, his lips on one bruised shoulder blade, and then the other.  

Finally, the towel dropped to her feet, his lips touching each of the bruises on her back, and then he was still and silent. Turning to face him, not saying a word, her eyes searched his face. He kept his eyes down cast as she kissed him softly on the cheek, trying to get some reaction, something from him other than silence. Instead, he reached for the robe, wrapping her in the thick terrycloth that smelled so strongly of him, she inhaled and snuggled into its warmth.

 

Like I said, sometimes sexy isn’t just about the sex.

Embracing the Darkness

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                Recently I made my first foray into the sweet and somewhat innocent world of Young Adult novels with middling to disappointing results. The story itself has all sorts of potential with strong characters and a dynamic location and fantastical creatures that run rampant in my mind. It was the story of a warrior and her love, the battle to save her people in a world doused in snow and darkness.

                That’s not the story that was told.

Even before I finished I knew that it was not that dynamic of a tale, it had no real pull, no real drama and resembled nothing of my normal work.   Why?

                Because I was trying to do something I don’t do. I was trying to write a story that was sweet and fun and light with hints of darkness. I struggled and fought against my natural instinct and the result-A bland love story that was wrought with holes and devoid of passion. Even innocence can be sexy, but I saw none that. Reading it over it felt as if I were reading someone else’s words as they attempted to tell a story that I had imagined

                It wasn’t until I looked over some of my other works, that I realize why it didn’t feel right. It’s because I love, love dark, sexy and somewhat creepy storytelling and that is my forte.   I have a knack for the sensual and surprising and live for those what the fuck just happened moments.  

                My short stories Serenity (https://tanishadelill.wordpress.com/2013/12/06/new-short-story-serenity/ ) and Breeder (https://tanishadelill.wordpress.com/2014/04/06/breeder/) are prime examples of what I write. So why did I try to go light and bubblegum?

                No idea.

But I did discover after reading these older versions of what I can do that it is perfectly okay to embrace the darkness. It is a wonderful place to visit, to imagine what lurks down the twisted stairwells that lead into the abyss. Is it a wonderful sexual adventure or a devastating end to a life not yet lived? Is there a dark and brooding man with haunting eyes and soulful kisses hiding in the shadows, or is it a child with haunting eyes and the ability to become your worst nightmare.

                Why should I stifle the freaky, twisted tales I enjoy writing so very, very much? If I’m going to write, why not find my passion and write stories that I want to read about people I wouldn’t mind hanging around with- under proper supervision. Well- Elijah Cain would be my one exception to that rule. But Why try to hide how truly warped I can be, especially when it lends itself to fantastical worlds and colorful characters? Why not let my freak flag fly?

                Why not tell these lust filled fever dreams full of faeries and vampires and gods and goddesses, demons and demi gods? Why not tell this eccentric sagas?

                Who knows, but I’m am more than willing to grab a flashlight and investigate the bumps in the attic. I want to follow the sexy stranger as he disappears into a foggy mist beckoning me with a crooked finger. I want to know if the prim, innocent virgin is really a succubus luring men to their deaths by seduction. I need to know what’s down that winding staircase or behind the locked door. Will it lead to sexual exploration with a shape shifter, a fantasy garden full of wood nymphs or the horrors of a brilliant surgeon run amuck?

                Who’s coming with me?