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Things are changing around the world.

Culture is being reshaped by a pandemic. People are finding new ways to navigate a world gone mad, to be perfectly honest.

I am no different.

For a long time, I thought I had to live for someone or something instead of living for myself.

I wrapped myself in the masks as they became available, and I tried to fit in with others. I tried to be what people wanted me to be.

After a year of isolation and learning for the first time how to face my issues head on, I found that I was genuinely becoming myself.

No longer afraid of being alone.

No longer worried about being successful by the norms of society.

No longer needing someone or something else to make me feel sane.

I am enough.

It was then that I realized I may have finally learned to love and forgive myself.

I also realized that if I allow myself to slip back into old habits - emotionally manipulative codependent relationships, thinking I’m not worthy of what I have earned, believing I need someone else to be whole, etc. - would only lead to regression.

I'm too fucking old to go backwards, and the road I'm on includes my career and my kids and that's about it.

So, I made hard decisions in order to move forward. This is what they refer to as adulting. I hate it, but sometimes it helps to just rip the band-aid off as an old friend told me. You can't live a lie and be happy.

I’ll soon be living alone for the first time in about seven years, and I plan on using the solitude to its fullest. Creating new art, new habits, and new paths forward. Here are the plans moving forward:

GROUNDZEROSUM.COM WILL SHUT DOWN.

I’ve been trying to figure out a way to save the site, but nothing at this point is economically feasible.

Currently, the site costs well over $1,700 USD a year to run on its most basic of levels. I make about $25 on a good month from members and patrons that can go towards that. The math is easy enough.

I’ve looked for every alternative I can with little to no reduction in the amount it would cost me to run it. It’s literally a question of when I run out of money.

The time costs of attempting to build a community are also taxing. I spent a considerable amount of time designing the site and adding features I should have spent on making things.

Ultimately, the vibe of GZS just isn’t there for me anymore. It costs more in time and cash to maintain than I can bear, so it’s time to close the door on that era and move forward.

It will go down on the same day it was born: April 1st.

Junk POP! Serials is live now!

My new venture is junkpopserials.com. It’s basically an online blog/zine that will be about topics I want to speak about. It will be a one-man show for now, so I can focus solely on the things I want to focus on instead of multi-tasking for others.

I’ll be talking about publishing, writing, creating, and all the stuff I’ve always talked about. I’ll be putting out zines and my comic, The Last True Mage.

I offer a membership that opens up exclusive posts for $3 a month or $30 a year. In these posts I’ll share digital copies of our publications, in-depth process posts, and anything that pops into my head to offer.

There’ll be plenty of public posts, too. So the standard, free membership still gets you a lot of good info, IMHO.

As far as community goes, the GZS Discord server will slowly change to the Junk POP! Serials server. I feel like Discord fits all the needs one could need from an engaging online community. I mean, I’d love to see community members do live shows doing whatever the hell it is they do. I’d watch that.

This site itself is powered by a headless CMS called Ghost, which was developed specifically for the type of things I do. I’m a writer. I want to focus on writing and making things.

The site is designed to be very minimal, reflecting some things I’m trying to change in my own life. I also plan on documenting that journey. I know creators sometimes find it hard to achieve a good work/life balance. Maybe something I do will inspire or help others to make their own changes.

TLTM’s first-arc is almost complete.

I haven’t got the latest issue of TLTM out there, but we’re almost done with the first arc. Unfortunately, life stuff has impeded me, but I hope to change that within the next couple of weeks.

I plan on getting the next couple of issues out in rapid succession once my move is complete, and since the first arc is almost complete, I’ll be working on the collected edition. Once that’s done, I’ll focus on the next arc.

And boy howdy, will the next arc be crazy! We’ll be globe-trotting around the world as Verone and crew chase an occult terrorist group, whose goal is to break the Omniversal Accords by kidnapping a powerful young woman who can bring forth the Magicka Apocalyptica.

Verone and crew will have a lot on their hands when BLACK SUNDAY rolls into town!

Zines!

Another thing I’ve recently fallen back in love with is zines. Man, I love those things. So much so, I’ve started producing some of my own.

These zines will focus on everything from my opinion on politics to my life goals to the process of how I get things done. In addition, I’ll plop down in these things anything that tickles my fancy or gets me going.

Zines are a fantastic way to get your thoughts out in the world, and the zine culture is huge even today. It’s a far cry from the 90s zine culture I remember because of the various advances in printing technologies.

Heck, I’m even looking at getting a good printer so I can print my stuff, put it in an envelope, and share with others.

In my dive back into that world, it reminded me that zines are where the late, great Hunter S. Thompson started before he got his Rolling Stone gigs. I’m hoping I might bring a smidge of his greatness to my stuff. (Yeah, I realize that's bold. High hopes, though, right?)

Getting back to a simple life.

One of my biggest goals of this year is to get back to good with myself.

More exercising, better eating, less time online, more reading, more writing, getting out to nature when I can, and taking control of my life back from years of depression, anxiety, and procrastination.

Now, before you go all crazy thinking I’ve become some hippy-dippy dumbass, that’s not the case. I’ll still be as hardcore as I ever was, not giving a shit what people think, and getting stuff done.

I hope you join me for the ride.

I can’t say I’ll always post the most insightful things or give you the keys to improving your life, but maybe seeing someone else struggle and overcome can inspire you in your own ways to do your own thing.

And that’s what I’m all about… not being the guru, but the person who shows a path. I don’t want to preach. I want to help. I don’t want you to be afraid of what you can become. I want you to become something no one can ignore. I want you to embrace the inner power that blazes like a million suns inside you.

Everyone has it. Even you, dear reader.

So, let’s do this! Let’s make some fucking noise and shake the pillars of the world! Let’s punk it up!

Until next time…

-JF