Theophilus Codex - #1
Excerpt from my Shadow Work Memoir: The Theophilus Codex
From the aftermath of a devastating illness and global shut down arises the first of a planetary hero.
I didn’t expect to come up with that little logline when the lockdown began back in March of 2020. My only goal was to work from home, use the time to recalibrate and figure out my next move and decide what I wanted to do in life. I was planning on doing more writing and try to make my college degrees work for me instead of me working to pay off the college degrees. Then, like so many others across the country, I was furloughed which meant more time to write and focus on making something happen for myself.
I had been introduced to the Law of Attraction a few years back by a friend, coach, and eventual muse so I had intentions set and brewing out in the universe, but I had let events, people, and situations singe my intents and it stunted my manifestations. My thinking was without some of those influences during the lockdown, I would be able to make some progress and be miles ahead of where I started. Sometimes though, the best-laid plans change and you find yourself surprised at how things work out and worlds (literal worlds and dimensions in my case) open up before you.
I would guess it was around the age of seven that I set my sights on being the youngest person ever to win an academy award for writing. Fast forward forty years and that dream is gone, but the writing part of it is still alive. I decided to pursue it by getting a master’s degree in creative writing from Full Sail. I was so proud of myself, for taking the leap and doing something for me that the year after I received my degree, I paid to attend the Story Expo in LA.
Now, I wasn’t expecting anything earth-shattering to happen. I only had a comic book script under my belt at the time and was still plodding through an animated tv show pilot. I just wanted to show myself that I was serious and to keep learning, since going to school and earning the degree was some of the best times I had in school ever. I just wanted to recreate that, plus, one of the things that they drilled into you during my course work was that you needed to network, network, network! As an introvert who finds small talk exhausting, networking doesn’t come easy, but I was willing to throw myself into the pit to try and accomplish a dream that I had.
So, there I was, surrounded by other writers and in the entertainment capital of the United States, if not the world, and I spent most of the time in my room. Not socializing or finding a way to overcome the exhausting small talk. Don’t get me wrong, I did make a few contacts there, but, in hindsight, I think it was more about me getting into the frame of mind and getting more learnings than going to try and network in the hopes that it would lead to something bigger and better and that I’d be whisked away and discovered.
One of the seminars I went to was by Jen Grisanti. I can’t remember the exact title, but I do remember a particular nugget that she dropped during the session. I may not have it exactly right, but the gest that I got from it1, was that you should mine your life, for the story you want to tell, and use that to make your writing better. Well, I was already putting elements of myself in my stories. If it wasn’t “me” then I was giving other characters my traits and living through them. The idea of going deeper and mining your life for stories wasn’t anything new. There are plenty of books and professionals who say write what you know, which I always took to mean, take a little bit of what you are familiar with, do some research, and use that to build a story that works for you and, hopefully, the masses will enjoy. This advice struck differently and stuck with me, but I didn’t do much with it for several years.
In 2018, I had reached a point with my writing where I had tons of ideas but not enough time to write them. By the time I was done with my 8 to 5 I didn’t have a lot of mental energy left to create let alone do much of anything else. I had read that you should put a little energy into your dreams every day and pretty soon, you’ll be surprised at how quickly things happen. Well, quickly is a relative term. Things weren’t moving fast enough and so I decided to go back to school and get another Masters from Full Sail, this time in Entertainment Business. The hope was that I would get some insight to start my own company and get my own stories produced and write my own ticket to the dream that I wanted, but after a year of classes and walking away with a degree, I was a step closer, but it still felt so far away and so daunting. I had the business plan done, but self-doubt and fear had me stuck and was telling me that,” it ain’t goin to happen.” Who will discover a black man from Florida and pluck him out of obscurity to let him live out his dream? Answer; no one!
It wasn’t until I had time on my hands, and a lot of the clutter, chatter, and some of the toxicity that I didn’t know I had been dealing with, had subsided that I realized that negative me was right. No one was going to reach down and pull me out of obscurity I would have to do it myself. It may not ever be to the level of Tyler Perry or Steven Spielberg, but heck, it would be me doing something that I enjoyed and in my own backyard and at this stage it would be enough because what I needed most at the time (even now) is to live my life. Live it as fully and authentically as possible, and cease trying to remain every vigilant about breaking stereotypes, trying to fit in, and making people happy when I wasn’t happy with myself, wasn’t meeting or interacting with people who were feeding my soul, and I wasn’t getting any acknowledgment or appreciation for breaking stereotypes. In fact, people still saw me as a stereotype no matter how I tried to change the narrative and not just for me, but for others who look like me. So, the Pandemic came at a great time. Early on, I was one of those who were determined to make the most of it and make the time work for me. The plan was simple, do some work to set the business up, write more stories, and figure out my next moves.
By this time, I had decided that the easiest and best way to do what I love, from where I am (I am a Florida Native and love the state—don’t judge) was to do an audio drama podcast. I was a latecomer to the Bright Sessions, Amelia Project, and The Phenomenon, and loved them so I wanted to do something similar. I had already had a niche, a plan, and a way forward, but I wasn’t prepared for the universe to finally double done and give me what I was asking for, while also helping me to find myself somewhat and help me begin living a bit more than I had been doing. Which goes to show that you have to not only be careful what you ask for, but you have to be ready for it to come at any time and in any way it comes. Then, when it shows up, jump in (or on) and ride it into the great beyond. That is what I decided to do and, in an effort, to help ensure I was on task and learning along the way, I decided to write a memoir to follow the process and, doing that opened up more avenues and worlds and the Codex was born.