Anxious Always

Everyday feels like you are fighting against the world. The truth is, that world you keep fighting is you. You fight against your own thoughts and cannot stop yourself from overanalyzing every situation. Why did you say that? What are you doing? Who wants to be around you? At just the right moment, these thoughts can cripple and paralyze you. Nothing is ever good enough and you are never good enough but you keep fighting yourself because there is nothing else to do but push forward. There is nothing to do but hope things will get better. They always do but your mind creates new obstacles.

You want nothing more than to walk up and tell everyone how much you struggle but you also do not believe anyone would care about anything you say. So, you tell no one. It is easier. Endure the struggle because that is what people do. Is it not? Sometimes people ask you how you are and you answer and say you are doing well and sometimes the answer is honest because in that moment you are doing well. Sometimes the answer is a lie and you say you are well because that is what people say. It is scripted and predictable so the other person goes away and leaves you alone.

People attempt to be polite and show you courtesy but you hate being around anyone. You enjoy being around a small amount of people like in a coffee shop where each person has their own space and no one talks. You feel social in this way. You feel less like a freak this way. Someone tries to talk to you. Nope. Nope. Go away. That is what you want to say but you do not because that would be rude and you would hate yourself for being rude but then you hate yourself for listening because now the person will not stop talking to you. Just walk away.

You spend all your time avoiding people, even people you like and want to see, but you avoid them anyway because that is what your instinct tells you is right. Then something happens. You meet someone new or you start to know someone better and you feel something. At first you do not really know but you are curious and explore. This person makes you comfortable. You are comfortable with friends but this feels different. A connection of sorts. You cannot explain it. You enjoy being with and around this person. This person is not like anyone else you have ever met.

Naturally, you try to spend more time with this person. Your schedules never seem to line up. It is like this is not meant to be. You continue pursuing something because this person touches you in a way that is unfamiliar. There are levels to receiving another person’s touch. Strangers touch you and it is as if every nerve in your body is connected to this one spot that is being touched and all five senses are gravitating towards this spot. It feels like danger and you need to leave. Then there is the touch from a close friend or family member. You have known this person or many years and you feel no threat.

This person who touches you differently in a new way. You cannot explain what this is. They seem like a close friend but the touch is still very different. The touch feels like they are being cautious. The touch feels like they know how you feel around other people and want you to feel safe around them. It is like they can sense your uneasiness. They touch you lightly, gently. In a way that says do not be upset, you are safe. How is it no one has ever touched you this way before?

You attempt to move things to another level with this person. Social interaction is a foreign concept that you will never understand but you try. You want to take this person out on a date. Every person you have taken this step with immediately ignores and avoids you. You feel this could happen again. You do not want to lose the only person who has ever made you feel the way you think normal people feel. But still you take a chance. You do it. No response. They ignore and avoid you. You were right. It happened again.

Three weeks pass, you have moved through each of the five stages of grief because that is what you do with the smallest issue and this felt like a larger issue. The person contacts you, casually, as if nothing has happened. You start talking again, only a little at first. You also act as though nothing has happened. Are you a hypocrite? No. You just do not want to lose another person when so many in your life have left you. You still want to tell this person how important they are to you but you feel they will not feel the same. That is okay.

Maybe they struggle with their own thought the same way you do. Maybe they were just as scared and anxious as you were. Maybe they did not know how to tell you no without hurting you because even though they are not interested, they still like you and want to keep you around. There are always too many maybes. You force yourself to stop creating maybes and just be happy that someone wants to talk to you sometimes. But there will always be maybes. There will always be what ifs. Why did you say that? What are you doing? Who wants to be around you?

It is a never-ending cycle. You cannot stop the thinking. You cannot stop the worrying. You cannot stop. You only want someone to hold you but you do not want anyone to touch you. You find someone that could bring the comfort you seek and then you screw everything up before it even starts. You always screw things up because that is what you do; you overthink, you worry, you screw up, you panic over nothing, you jump into something too soon because you are afraid of missing a chance that will only come with patience. But there is no patience in anxiety.

The Hobo Spider…Man!

portland-spiders-chartOf the many spiders in the world, there are a small number whose bites are considered clinically significant.  This means the bites are very harmful to humans.  The two most well known are the Brown Recluse, also known as the fiddle back, and the Black Widow, sometimes called the southern widow.  The third lesser known is the Hobo Spider.  A bite from the Hobo Spider is not as severe as the Brown Recluse but on rare occasions, victims can display other symptoms.  Mainly, they can mutate and turn into the Hobo Spider-Man.

The Hobo Spider-Man is a most interesting creature.  He scavenges trashcans and dumpsters for food and alcohol.  He will often stand on street corners asking for change and if the person is unwilling to give, he will use his webbing that he shoots from his arm to restrain them long enough for him to search their pockets and run off with whatever he finds.  He has been known to build webs in alleys to catch rival hobos so he might have no begging competition.

When police chase after him, he scales the wall of a building with ease to avoid imprisonment.  Yes, the Hobo Spider-Man is a menace to society, so be cautious and steadfast so that you don’t get bitten and become the Hobo Spider-Man.

 

Dollar Tales

I have a new eBook that will be released on Monday, October 16.  It is available for pre-order and it will download automatically on Monday if you do.  It is only $0.99 and includes two versions of one story.  The original was first published in 2015 in my collection of short stories, Killers, Monsters, & Madmen.  The second version is the story in its entirety.  There was a lot of the story cut out for the first publication and now you can read the whole thing.  This story will also be included in my forthcoming collection of short fiction titled, Morbid Museum.

There will be other eBook coming throughout the next year leading to the release of the new collection.  These will be a series called Dollar Tales from the Morbid Museum.  “The Ghosts Inside” is available only on Amazon Kindle.  There will be free promotions now and then and I will inform everyone of these free deals.  Be sure to find my on social media: @jamespackwriter and tell me what you think of my writing or what you think of me.  Please be kind but honest.  I will post some of my writing here on my blog as well as all kinds of other things to keep me writing.

You can also find my book of poetry, Pariah Bound: The Lonesome Poetry, in both eBook and Paperback formats.  Check back regularly for free promotions and giveaways of this title as well.  I also do a little music production which I will be posting something about in the near future.  I will be hosting some panels at the Tucson Comic Con in November and I will share more details about that as we get closer to the convention.  Let me know if you’ll be there!

Slow Transitions

There has been a lot going on.  I am still transferring my VaudVil website to a new host but things should be back to normal by next week.  I have self-published a collection of all my poetry, Pariah Bound: The Lonesome Poetry, which is available for Amazon Kindle and Paperback.  I have another eBook coming out on October 16 (a small one), Dollar Tales from the Morbid Museum,  in preparation of another collection of short fiction I am working on and I even put out some music for sale though I don’t think many will be interested.  It has been a busy couple of weeks but I am always happy to stay busy.

I plan to have more writing on this blog in the near future once I have a few other things finished.  It is difficult to write fiction everyday when you also want to write articles everyday.  It is all very time consuming with a full time job but I think I will manage.  If there is anything you would like to see me write about, please send an email or fill out the contact form.  If you would like to write a review on any of my books, please contact me and I will send you a free PDF.  I do not have physical copies yet but once I do I can offer those for free as well.

Variety Performance is Growing

There are more and more event producers seeking variety performers for their shows.  Many of them have produced burlesque exclusively but are expanding the kind of entertainment in their shows.  This is good for everyone; however, what they consider variety usually involves circus or vaudeville type acts.  They of course do not define what they mean by vaudeville acts.  VaudVil hopes define what this means.  A vaudeville act could be any kind of performance art.  It could be standup comedy, an actor reciting a monologue, someone who juggles and uses the balls to play the piano while he juggles…anything!

What these producers are likely searching for is something that has not been seen or done before.  It is very easy to find a standup comedian but how often do you find a comedy duo?  What about comedians who also play guitars during their act?  Where are the Abbott & Costello type comedians?  Where are the Smothers Brothers type comedians/musicians?  Where are any ventriloquists?  These are not likely found in Tucson and probably not in Phoenix either.  How does one nurture this kind of performance art?  Where are the people who are interested in learning these kinds of performance art?

VaudVil is going through a rough year but we hope to find ways to help would-be performance artists learn new trades and crafts.  There are few magicians in southern Arizona (I am only aware of four and only know of three who actually get work).  But again the question is how does one nurture this kind of performance art?  We at VaudVil are currently researching all the things we need to have buskers in Tucson.  Busker is a fancy word for street performers.  This will hopefully encourage more variety performers to crawl out of the woodwork and enhance the entertainment of Tucson and southern Arizona.

Branding Tips for Individuals and Businesses

What is Branding?  Branding is a person’s gut feeling about a person, place, or product.  Brands can be positive or negative and people opinions of a brand can change over time.  Branding yourself or your business can involve many things, such as; slogans and trademarks, online presence, and social media usage.  How you or your business interacts with the public is also a major part of branding.  Your customer service can create a positive or negative brand so it is always important to strive for excellent customer service.

It is important in branding to describe what you do in as few words as possible.  This is not a slogan or catchphrase.  Try to develop a short phrase around two to five words that sums up yourself or your business.  For example; when people ask me about what VaudVil is, I tell them it is “Tucson’s Source for Variety Entertainment!”  The worst that could happen when I tell people this is they may ask “What is variety entertainment?”  Another example; you have an Italian restaurant, someone asks what you do and you say “Authentic Italian Cuisine.”  Too easy!  You can develop a catchphrase or a slogan to build upon your brand, think of Nike’s “Just Do It,” but you first have to figure out what it is that you or your business does.

Continue Reading at VaudVil

What Inspires Me

I was raised by the nightmares of my parents.  Quite literally, I was born into the darkness; molded by it.  That first glimmer of light within me did not occur until I was already a man.

My mother faced sexual assault at an early age from her own father and later developed Dissociative Identity Disorder.  My father faced the onslaught of hatred from African American teenagers because he was white while living on the poor side of town in the late 1960s.  He was five-years-old when Martin Luther King was shot.  My father’s brother’s life ended too soon on Christmas Day, 1984 because of a mistake that never should have been made.

These are just a select few of the horrors I grew up hearing.  Then my own battles and horrors began.  A lifelong struggle of understanding and a search for purpose have been the motivation and inspiration for me to change the world for the better.  I studied theater and feel a strong connection with performance and self expression.  Am I the best?  No, but that is not what self expression is about.  It is about creating something.  The opposite of war is not peace but creation.  Creating something channels that darkness into something good.

My identity is unusual.  I am an asexual, masculine male with high functioning anxiety.  My goals and achievements are literally all I have.  Yes, I have friends and acquaintances but few of them understand my own drive.  I want to create a better world with fewer nightmares and more dreams coming to reality.  I can achieve this through theater and self expression.  As a mad scientist once said, “Don’t dream it – Be it!”

I am a Writer

I have been writing for almost fifteen years.  I really feel this is one of my strongest skills.  I believe I am good at many things.  When it comes to writing, I feel great.  Have I been professionally published?  No.  Have I sold lots of stories and made money from my writing?  Not really.  Have I self-published and sold a few to people who were not friends or family?  Kind of I guess.  It is not an easy market to jump into but I believe I have been writing long enough and have acquired enough knowledge and skill to really change the world through writing.

If you are reading this than I have already succeeded in one small way.  Who knew that was all it took?  It does not matter how much money one makes, or how many times one is published.  That is the business of writing, yes, but that is not what makes a great writer.  I can insert a couple of popular contemporary writers who are simply terrible.  I do not think this is the fault of the writer but more of the editor and the agent for not working to make the writing better.  That is the purpose of agents and editors, to make the story or book marketable and profitable.  That is all.

So, with the marketable/profitable angle, I am in no way successful.  From the artist perspective, I have made a small impact on a few people.  That is the purpose for any artist; to make people feel something.  It does not matter what it is if the person has some feeling from the artist’s work.  It could be anger, happiness, melancholy, ambivalence, whatever…  I recently realized this was, on a small scale, the purpose of human interaction.  We are here to make each other fell something.

People have spent centuries trying to discover what it all means.  I think the poets, painters, sculptures, writers, and any other artists are closer than anyone else.  The purpose of life is to create and to feel.  Unfortunately, everyone just wants to be numb and destroy everything.  Now more than ever does the world need painters and poets and any other artists.  Now more than ever does the world need to create and to feel.  It is in emotions that we are reminded of our humanity.  It is creation that brings out the best in everyone.  So, I write.

When I feel something strongly, I write.  When I cannot find the words, I write.  I do not always write about what has transpired but when I write something, when I create something, it brings out the best I have and makes me feel like I have a purpose.  While I don’t know what it is exactly, I have a divine life purpose.  I have a soul mission.  I have a reason for being and I think it involves writing.  Maybe most of you will not read this.  Maybe most of you in the world will ignore anything I can offer.  That will never stop me from writing because sometimes writing is the only thing I have.

The State of Entertainment in Tucson

Entertainment is a very broad term.  Before we can appropriately analyze this we have to be more specific of what exactly we are talking about.  When I discuss entertainment in Tucson, I am not referring to sports, I am not referring to national tours, I am not referring to seminars or festivals, I am not referring to films or movie theaters, and I am not referring to contests.  So what am I referring to?

We are talking specifically about the local entertainment and local talent right here in Tucson, AZ.  We are talking about local musicians, local singers, local actors, local dancers, local performers, and local entertainment.  Over the last five years there has been a surge of local talent in Tucson and it continues to grow every year.  Tucson has become a hub for Burlesque performance.  One can easily throw a rock and hit three people who perform or have performed burlesque at a local bar or other venue in Tucson.  And that is the problem.  There are so many performers but not enough shows or venues for all of them to perform.

Continue Reading at VaudVil

Looking for Producers

Simply put, I am looking for other folks to help financially speaking.  In return, I offer exclusive content that no one else has access to and the opportunity to be included in the creative process.  This may not seem like much or it may not seem interesting but this is the beginning of something greater.  In a few years time, Tucson can easily become a hub or mecca for performing artists and those who are interested in the entertainment industry.  There is a lot of potential and I am trying to channel that potential into one place.

You can learn more about the different options of being a producer for VaudVil is you check out this page detailing all the information, We Are Looking For Producers.  You can also skip the middle man and go directly to our Patreon Page and choose which producer option best fits with your budget and sign up right there.  This is also where the exclusive content will be located and there is all ready a few goodies on the site.  These include videos about how to get published or how to pitch your TV or film ideas to studio executives.  This is valuable information that you cannot find anywhere else in Tucson, AZ.

Other exciting things would include different images and audio files and videos about the content we are creating and of course being able to participate in planning our live events throughout the year.  Our next event is Monday, August 21.  We are still working out the minor details and more information will be posted soon, but with your financial support we can produce more shows and continue to be Tucson’s source for variety entertainment.  Do you want to be apart of something new and exciting or just watch the world pass you by?