Braiding Tales: We Built a World, Row by Row

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“We gave the Future to the winds, and slumbered tranquilly in the Present, weaving the dull world around us into dreams.” ― Edgar Allan Poe, The Mystery of Marie Rogêt

I spent most of my early teens in the Bronx. The street I lived on, corner to corner, ran the length of three average city blocks and was the picture of diversity—the melting pot that New York had become famous for. It was all about migration. Italians were moving to new ground as black people nestled in and on their tail were Hispanics followed by West Indians. It was a neighborhood in transition where multi-cultures learn by cohabitation that differences in race didn’t make a person less human.

It was also the 70’s and I rocked a killer afro to end all ‘fros. Metal pronged afro pick with the handle clenched in a black power fist and a peace symbol carved out on the base, tucked in the back of my hair.

It drove my parents crazy. They rode my back constantly to get it cut but there was that preteen Samsonian fear that the strength of my personality—-my Madd-ness—-would be stripped away, were a barber to lay clippers on my precious locks. When I got the “as long as you’re living under my roof” speech, I knew I needed a solution and I needed it quick.

Enter: Cynthia Holloway. I mentioned my plight in passing and out of nowhere she offered to braid my hair into cornrows. So, we sat on the stoop of a private house and armed with only a comb and hair grease, Cynthia worked her nimble fingers like a loom.

She was one of those neighborhood girls that I’d never really spoken to before outside the odd hello. Not that there was anything wrong with her, she was simply a person that kept herself to herself. The type of person you’d have to make an effort to get to know.

It would take many years for me to become that type of person.

But in sitting with her I discovered she was both intelligent and imaginative, with interesting stories to tell. Her father was a retired Army Ranger colonel, who spent a great deal of his free time on the road in a jazz band.

I’m not sure how much of that was true. No one could ever remember seeing Cynthia’s dad, so maybe it was a story she invented to keep nosy kids at bay. Or perhaps it was one of the quiet lies that parents tell their children to spare them from the harsh realities of troubled marriages.

Since we had nothing but time to kill, we talked about our constricted home lives, mentioned the odd hobby, told a few jokes and had a couple of laughs, and when all the conversation wells had run dry, we told each other stories.

At the end of every month, when the braids began to look a little ratty, I’d take them out and Cynthia met me back on that stoop to repeat the process. And after a brief bit of catch-up, we’d go back to telling each other imaginary stories and without meaning to, wound up designing an illusory sanctuary from the burdens and pains of our everyday pre-teenage lives.

While we mentally terraformed our neighborhood row by cornrow, we got to know each other in those months as the monarchs of our fantasy world. We explored the surroundings, went on adventures, and basically forgot the world for a few hours a month.

Come the fifth month, I sat on the stoop and waited, my hair a wild crop of imagination waiting to be plowed, but Cynthia never showed. I later learned from a friend of a friend’s sister that she and her mother had moved away in the middle of the night without telling a soul where they were headed.

I tried to imagine all the possible reasons that would cause them to make a hurried escape under the cloak of twilight and seriously hoped it had nothing to do with her retired-Army-Ranger-colonel-jazz-band-dad. Nothing negative, anyway.

And yes, I eventually had no other choice than to submit to the butcher shop barbershop haircut. Much to my surprise, I managed to retain all of my Madd-ness afterward. I was still filled with my nerdy sameness and when I missed her a bit, I’d sometimes sit on the stoop and give an imaginary Cynthia updates on the latest goings-on in the world we created.

Thanks for humoring me as I wool-gathered.

PS. Cyn, if through some bizarre happenstance you should come across this, hit me up real quick. There’s a world in some need of serious upkeep.

Text and audio ©2013 Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys

21 Writing Lessons A Wise Man Would Share (and no, I’m not calling myself wise)

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  1. Commitment is what transforms an idea floating around in your head into reality. Putting pen to paper speaks boldly of your intentions and are the actions which speak louder than the words. It is making the time when there is none. Coming through time after time after time, year after year after year. Commitment is the stuff character is made of; the power to shape ethereal things. It is the daily triumph of integrity over skepticism.
  2. No one is perfect. The quicker this is realized the faster you can get on with being excellent. Start every morning ready to write harder than you did the day before and plot further than you ever imagine.
  3. Avoid over explaining yourself in writing. Be confident that your audience is intelligent enough to understand.
  4. Write down what’s most important to you in your writing career and the steps to accomplish that goal and show up. Sometimes we tend to do the things that are most important to us when it’s written down.
  5. Play the hand you’re dealt. Stop envying someone else’s talent or success. Have the courage to face your own writing challenges head on. It builds character. Start looking for a way through instead of a way out.
  6. Become a student of life. Learn something new every day. The day you stop learning is the day you become obsolete so keep learning and keep writing.
  7. No excuses. Stop making excuses for not writing and replace them with ways to do better writing. Excuses are a waste of time and energy.
  8. Never be ashamed to tell anyone you’re a writer, whether you’re published or not. The definition of a writer is a person who writes or is able to write. Being ashamed to acknowledge this fact to people speaks to self-doubt, which is a desire killer.
  9. Never be afraid of a writing challenge. If you never strive to be more than what you are, you’ll never truly know what you can become.
  10. Service to others. Pointing people in the right direction is such a small thing. Give advice to those who ask for it. Offer support to those who want it. We’re all here to teach as well as learn.
  11. Work like hell. If you want to earn a living as a writer, that is. Treat it like a profession, put your absolute best foot forward and be thorough. Cross every “T” and dot every “I”.
  12. Discover you. Find your passion, life purpose, and pursue them… then write about them.
  13. Don’t take it personally. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge and laugh at something that you’ve written in the past that’s just plain awful. Self-awareness and self-confidence shows that you’re comfortable in your own skin.
  14. Manage your time. Our situation and environment is ever changing so be careful not to confuse the things that are urgent with the things that are important. Look for time wasters and eliminate them.
  15. Ask for help. Writing can be tough and although you do a majority of it alone, you should never write in a total vacuum and there’s no shame in seeking advice when you’re stuck.
  16. Do your homework. Know what you’re getting into before you start writing in a particular field, format or genre. Doing your homework reduces uncertainty and fear.
  17. Daydream often. Your imagination is a muscle that requires exercise and daydreaming is an excellent way to flex. Embrace and preserve your daydreams at all cost.
  18. Forgive and set free. Freeing your mind to write is almost as important as actually sitting down to write, so cultivate a healthy dose of forgiveness and set someone free. Learn to forgive others and stop carrying those bags of hate, guilt or regret.
  19. Stay one step ahead. Avoid big fish/small pond thinking if at all possible. If you’ve mastered a particular style of writing, why not be proactive, take the initiative, and see what other types of writing challenges are out there for you?
  20. Self-love. Become your own priority. Strive to be the you, you want to be. Once you accomplish this, it will show in your writing, trust me.
  21. Finish what you started. Avoid the urge to stray. Distractions are the writer’s most fearsome adversary. Avoid jumping off a project because a better idea has come along. Jot the better idea down, set it aside, and come back to it when you’re done with your current project.

Sally forth and be wisely writeful.

— Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys

The Three Simple Facts Of Writing

 

Today’s entry is a shortie because I’m busy wrestling with a wordy bastard of a story that refuses to be tamed but I’m in a particularly stubborn mood, so challenge met!

That said, I offer you my three simple facts of writing:

  1. If you do not write the story you truly want to write, it will never be read. You can’t have the unwashed masses confirm your greatness when you haven’t given them anything to be in awe of.
  2. If you don’t submit your work—–for review, publication, employment, or whatever—–the answer will always be no. The cruelest rejection you can ever receive is from yourself, the toughest critic you’ll ever know. If you never show your work, you never give an editor, publisher, prodco, or whatever, the chance to say yes (exercise caution, of course, and protect your writing before letting it fly out into the world).
  3. If you don’t write, you’ll never be a writer. Plain and simple. Also, many, many, many years from now, when you’re lying on your deathbed, do you really want a box of regret—–filled with all the unwritten stories of your life—–hanging over your head like the sword of Damocles? I think not.

Sally forth and be writeful.

— Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys

50 Questions That Can Help Free Your Mind (to concentrate on writing… hopefully)

 

The common advice for freeing your mind to write is to create a journal. I’m fairly certain that most of you have either 1) created a journal that you may or may not keep current, or 2) heard the advice and decided journaling isn’t for you (hey, it happens).

So, what other options do you have when you’ve lost your self in a quagmire of self-pity, mundane daily obligations and insurmountable life woes and can’t quite seem to maintain your true identify or nurture your creative center?

Why, you slap on your pith helmet, turn your gaze inward, and explore that largely ignored country of your core self, naturally. And the best way to accomplish this is with the list below. Why a list? Because you’re a writer and writers love lists.

Be advised that there are no right or wrong answers because sometimes simply asking the right questions is the answer.

  1. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?
  2. Which is worse, failing or never trying?
  3. If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do?
  4. When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?
  5. What is the one thing you would most like to change about the world?
  6. If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich?
  7. Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing?
  8. If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently?
  9. To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken?
  10. Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?
  11. You are having lunch with three people you respect and admire. They all start criticizing a close friend of yours, not knowing she is your friend. The criticism is distasteful and unjustified. What do you do?
  12. If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be?
  13. Would you break the law to save a loved one?
  14. Have you ever seen insanity where you later saw creativity?
  15. What is something you know you do differently than most people?
  16. How come the things that make you happy don’t make everyone happy?
  17. What is one thing have you not done that you really want to do? What’s holding you back?
  18. Are you holding onto something you need to let go of?
  19. If you had to move to a state or country besides the one you currently live in, where would you move and why?
  20. Do you push the elevator button more than once? Do you really believe it makes the elevator faster?
  21. Would you rather be a worried genius or a joyful simpleton?
  22. Why are you, you?
  23. Have you been the kind of friend you want as a friend?
  24. Which is worse, when a good friend moves away, or losing touch with a good friend who lives right near you?
  25. What are you most grateful for?
  26. Would you rather lose all of your old memories, or never be able to make new ones?
  27. Is it possible to know the truth without challenging it first?
  28. Has your greatest fear ever come true?
  29. Do you remember that time 5 years ago when you were extremely upset? Does it really matter now?
  30. What is your happiest childhood memory? What makes it so special?
  31. At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive?
  32. If not now, then when?
  33. If you haven’t achieved it yet, what do you have to lose?
  34. Have you ever been with someone, said nothing, and walked away feeling like you just had the best conversation ever?
  35. Why do religions that support love cause so many wars?
  36. Is it possible to know, without a doubt, what is good and what is evil?
  37. If you just won a million dollars, would you quit your job?
  38. Would you rather have less work to do, or more work you actually enjoy doing?
  39. Do you feel like you’ve lived this day a hundred times before?
  40. When was the last time you marched into the dark with only the soft glow of an idea you strongly believed in?
  41. If you knew that everyone you know was going to die tomorrow, who would you visit today?
  42. Would you be willing to reduce your life expectancy by 10 years to become extremely attractive or famous?
  43. What is the difference between being alive and truly living?
  44. When is it time to stop calculating risk and rewards, and just go ahead and do what you know is right?
  45. If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make a mistake?
  46. What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?
  47. When was the last time you noticed the sound of your own breathing?
  48. What do you love? Have any of your recent actions openly expressed this love?
  49. In 5 years from now, will you remember what you did yesterday? What about the day before that? Or the day before that?
  50. Decisions are being made right now. The question is: Are you making them for yourself, or are you letting others make them for you?

Sally forth and be free-mindedly writeful.

— Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys

Of Our Hue Filmworks: The Maconheiro Preview Clips

If what they say is true, that idle hands are the devil’s playground, then the same must be true about idle ideas in the mind of a filmmaker. This project came about as a result of idle chit chat with a group of friends as we were pounding down sacks full of White Castle murder burgers in a two-tone ’67 Chevy Impala after a night of heavy partying. Never come up with a nonsensical premise and dare me to turn it into a movie. Never.

The Tale of The Maconheiro:

Preview clip starring Steph Van Vlack, Pedro Rezende, Charlotte Grant, Julia Giolzetti, and Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys. Written & Directed by Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys. Copyright 2008-2016 Of Our Hue Filmworks. All Rights Reserved.

Deborah and Verity meeting:

Preview clip starring Monica Hammond and Charlotte Grant. Written & Directed by Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys. Copyright 2008-2016 Of Our Hue Filmworks. All Rights Reserved.

Steve’s crib:

Preview clip starring Monica Hammond, Daniel Petsche, Elizabeth Sawyer and Chris Van Kirk. Written & Directed by Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys. Copyright 2008-2016 Of Our Hue Filmworks. All Rights Reserved.

Of Our Hue Filmworks: The Submission (in four parts)

This marks my very first serious attempt at writing and directing a short film based on a feature-length screenplay I wrote about diversity within the comic book industry named, “Spotting Black.” It’s a little clunky and long-winded, but it’s mine, a project completed and one less item on my bucket list.

Part 1 – The Sitdown – In this segment, it’s the start of the Tri-State Comic Convention and publisher Mark Brown enters his hotel room to find the most unusual submission he’s ever received.:

Part 2 – The Rejection – After Daryl receives a less than enthusiastic response to his submission and previously published work… things get heated:

Part 3 – Harsh Realities – Tired of all the rhetoric, Mark is determined to school Daryl about the realities regarding the comic book industry as it relates to people of color:

Part 4 – The Admission – it’s all been said and done and there’s nothing left but for Daryl to come clean about his unorthodox submission:

Starring Lamont Copeland, Buddy Woodson, and Reena Dutt. Written & Directed by Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys. Copyright 2001-2020 Of Our Hue Filmworks. All Rights Reserved.

Polymer Doll Isabeau Graphic Novel

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I’m on a serious nostalgia trip at the moment, looking back on past projects (because, let’s face it, the past should not be forgotten) and this graphic novel was actually created as a birthday gift for my girlfriend at the time and printed on newsprint, meaning to resemble a modern day penny dreadful.

Synopsis: Set in a future one step ahead and to the left of our own, Polymer Doll Isabeau tells the story of the mysterious and amnestic Izzy, the sole survivor of the Theologos Catastrophe that wiped out the entire population of Brooklyn, New York, four years ago. An accident caused by Rowe Scientific. As events build to similar disaster, Izzy, with the help of her friends, reporter Sydney Dorset and Agent Morgan Barksdale, races to discover her true connect with the Polymer Doll Project, the military android application believed to be the cause of the Brooklyn tragedy.

©1997 – 2020 Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys

Genaissance: A Parable Scribed By The Shadowside Of God

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Inspiration comes from the oddest places sometimes and the idea for this graphic novel series came from watching the cheesy Christopher Walken movie, “The Prophecy” which sparked an interest in reading the apocrypha and pseudepigrapha which resulted in me creating “Genaissance: A Parable Scribed by the Shadowside of God”:

Synopsis: The time? One of innocence. The place? A land that no longer exists; the Earth Pre-Flood. It is here that a gentle soul named Enoch, on the 365th year of his life, is lifted up into the Seven Heavens and brought before the unbearable face of God. Elected to be the Scribe of God, Enoch encounters the Archangel Micha-el, who begins relating a fantastic parable. Through Enoch’s mindseye we witness the evolution of God, the creation of Earth, the formation of Heaven, the birth of Lucifer Morningstar, and much, much more.

©1999 – 2020 Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys

Visual Assault Omnibus

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Visual Assault Omnibus, our premiere title, was a superhero/science fiction anthology series created by myself, which included gallery pages that new and amateur artists could submit to, as well as coloring and scripting contests and featured the following stories:

Nixa! – On Deimos, the smallest Martian moon, there exists a three-component masterpiece society, consisting of the controlling Deiphovner, subservient Lax’chaetaal, and mysterious Oss’fuite races.  For reasons yet unknown to her, Nixa, the nigh-invulnerable metal-skinned Oss’fuite, leads the Lax’chaetaal in a revolt against the Deiphovner.  The Oss’fuite are forced to choose sides and Nixa finds herself in battle against one-time ally, Mesq Klute.  When it becomes apparent that Nixa may very well die in battle, she is teleported away against her will by friend Ari Grice, the third and final Oss’fuite.  The “blind” teleportation leaves Nixa floating helplessly in Earth’s orbit.  Her meteoric descent brings about wanton chaos and destruction on many different levels, as secrets that Nixa is no stranger to Earth are revealed.

Improbable Impact – Somewhere within The Brinke, the Sphere Of Time, lurks an entity some call Euthanasia, who was spawned at the creation of the universe.  Euthanasia exists to exercise his whims as he sees fit.  One of his fonder pleasures is to create new races that he can convert into loyal worshippers that will obey his every whim, even if the consequence is the destruction of the very fabric of the universe itself!  He has discovered ideal followers in a race called The Trachnevid, a star-faring race that plunders planets in Euthanasia’s name.  One sole survivor, Dimensioner, whose homeworld was destroyed in Euthanasia’s wake, begins a maddening crusade to build a counter-army to help prevent the fruition of Euthanasia’s twisted schemes and restore the proper balance of the universe.

Maseo, Hero-Killer – A mysterious young female vigilante, known only as Maseo, is accused of killing the national superhero, Paramount.  The government wants to reprogram her, the public cries out for her blood, the superhero community demands retribution, and the villain element wants a crack at the person who killed Paramount.  No one believes her.  No one trusts her.  No one except her court-appointed lawyer, Augustus Supall. Living a life on the run, Maseo begins to implement a plan that will reveal the forces behind the chaos that her life has become, while Supall struggles to unearth the truth.  This is not your standard fare “vigilante” tale.

Ruehl – Even as a baby, the name Ruehl was a legend.  Miracle Baby.  Savior.  Defender of the weak.  Role model.  Spokesperson.  The ultimate merchandising tool.  But suddenly, at the pinnacle of her career, evidence has surfaced that she was responsible for the deaths of nearly 200 people, a charge that she cannot deny.  Follow the path of a superstar whose life begins the long, slow spiral straight to hell.

MindSet – When the world is running down…you make the best of what’s still around.  And after The FlatFall of ‘94 (Nixa’s impact with Manhattan Island), MindSet is as best as it gets.  Six in all, orphans turned guinea pigs, and molded into the finest, deadliest technologically advanced corporate henchmen.  But when their mission is to assassinate the current Pope, can even the highest level of their super technology go toe-to-toe with an emissary from the heavens?

Loam, the Intrepid – How true are the rumors that a 400 year old myth, an African golem, whose hands are like anvils and whose eyes can burn the soul, has finally come to New York?  One reporter for a sensationalist primetime tv show and his partner will risk their lives and even their sanity to reveal the truth behind the “monster” that preys on evil from the dark recesses of New York’s back alleys.

©1991 – 2020 Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys

The Revenue Man Graphic Novel

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78 Page, Black and White Graphic Novel by Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys

In the year 2046, tax rates have reached a record high of 96%.  These rates have incensed what is left of the working class.  Citizens, in order to survive with some semblance of dignity, have devised ways to withhold income from the taxation offices, adopting a “the tax office can’t tax what they don’t know about” attitude.  The Rowe Scientific Tax Administration Inspection Bureau has made it their business to be in the position to know EVERYTHING.

Since humans have proven time and time again to be selfish, money-grubbing little creatures, Rowe designed a new type of tax man, one that was incorruptible and flawless, to oversee and enforce the stringent tax laws.  Thus were born…THE REVENUE MEN.  When one of these super auditors malfunctions and begins its deadly pursuit on an innocent taxpayer.  Trapped in a skyscraper, and armed with nothing but the knowledge that he is innocent, Eddie Pacheco must match wits with an insane automaton, ever staying one step ahead, if he wants to stay alive.