Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My Hero

You know Eartha Kitt died, right? Well, the only thing with which my brain associated her was a little gem of a movie called Ernest Scared Stupid, where she played a supporting role as a crazy witch named Old Lady Hackmore. And seeing as how I was already sentimental, this memory made me reconsider a more important figure from my childhood. Yes, the late and great, Jim Varney as Ernest P. Worrell.

As a nubile pre-teen, I was almost unnaturally infatuated with this man. Not only was I naively sexually attracted to him, but I also looked to him as a protective brother figure and the father I never had. This projection could have been because he had the same southern accent that I associated with one side of my family (after all, he was born in Kentucky). But more likely my intense attraction was due to his sincerity, his complete lack of pretension, and his desire to help anyone in any way possible. He was, in many ways, an idol; the person I wanted to be, and also the person I felt I was, because, like Ernest, I was continuously getting fucked over by someone, or taken advantage of for my generosity.

In the early nineties, when I popped in that newly rented VHS and began watching his adventures play out, not only was the character of Ernest appealing, but there was something else. It was as though, beyond all his blunders and wild-eyed expressions, I could see an underlying sadness, an indication of the real-life mystery man who was James Albert Varney Jr. When Ernest became distraught because he was in a state of confusion or some one made fun of him, it was as if Jim Varney himself existed in this state.

In Ernest Goes to Camp, he sits alone after having been abandoned by his friends, and sings a song about being glad it's raining "because the gentle rhythm soothes the pain inside, so no one knows his heart broke right in two." His deep cigarette-scarred vocals serenaded me as we both wept. I must have cried a dozen times to that scene and others like it. In every similar scene, my youthful intuition told me that it was really Jim that harbored all that pain, because, while he pulled off his comedic scenes with ease, he was never more adept than in the tragic moments.

When he died in 2000, it struck me as sorrowful in more ways than one. I was then only 17, and close enough to those pre-teen years to feel the loss on a personal level, but too busy to really think about what his passing meant to me. Now I am older and more keen on intellectualizing our strange relationship, Ernest, Jim and I. His death was the death of my juvenile melancholy, but also my fledgling hopes for myself, that I too might grow to be as kind-hearted as him. I don't mean that all of my prepubescent angst or hopes died with him, but that he was the poster child for my naivety. Ernest made it possible for me to express my sadness while maintaining my romanticism for life. Because I believe Ernest knew his true self, he represents my present need to return to the authenticity I once posessed.

Jim, then, must represent the ever-lingering self-doubt, but also the freedom to express unpleasant emotions. After some research, I found out that Jim Varney died of lung cancer after smoking several packs a day since age 15 and suffered two divorces in his life. He was trained as a Shakespearean actor and hit it big with a series of local commercials playing Ernest, a character of his own creation, thus leading to the series of movies. Months before his death, he was known to have repeatedly visited Childrens' Hospitals to entertain cancer patients.

So, what started as an innocent girl favoring a colorful movie character, spawned a rather intellectual young woman who isn't ashamed of emulating a kindhearted, emotionally vulnerable honkey. And I hope others out there may find the confidence to relate. Because I'm sure y'know what I mean, Vern.

Monday, December 29, 2008

wet blanket.

(photo by april gastinger)
okay, i told someone that i'm about to have my period (its never regular) a couple weeks ago because i am so emotional, but as it turns out, i just need to cry. its getting so bad that yesterday, i couldn't find my new car insurance card, so i broke down in the middle of a pile of papers and lethargically continued to toss them into the air in a helpless painful sort of way. the antithesis of Scrooge McDuck with his gold coins, if you will.

i want to listen to sad songs and feel good about my melancholy. i'm tired of all my fall-back songs so i need someone to recommend a good sad song. or top 5s.

cheesy i know but these are always good ones...

Friday, December 26, 2008

i also did this over the holdays...

complete crossword puzzles.

look at porn.

so it wasn't all crying this month.

christmas lament

i cried three times on Christmas day.

i woke up at 9am and got in a huge fight with my boyfriend. he hates waking up early. it makes him physically ill. then my dog ran out the front door and it took a half hour to get her back. i was walking down the street with a leash in my hand, hopelessly whipping it against the asphalt, bawling out loud.

consequently, we were 2 hours late to visit his parents where we ate and opened presents, yadayadayada. but then they all opened a small present given to them by my boyfriend's brother and his wife. it felt like a plastic candy bar and, when revealed, turned out to be a little picture frame with a weird little black and white photo in it. we all squinted at it and turned it upside down until finally my BF's mom let out a diamond-splitting yelp and started jumping around, hugging everyone, and crying. it was a fetus! so then, i too started hugging and jumping and crying along with everyone else.

my BF gave his brother a huge bag of yerba mate tea (which he hadn't ever tasted), so he thought it would be nice to make some for him in a french press. i was trying to give BF some advice on how to prepare it with a french press, but what the hell would i know about coffee or tea? i've only been a barista going on 4 years!! anyway, he acted as though i'm completely ignorant and proceeded to make a grainy, too strong, awful batch of yerba. now, this situation on its own wouldn't be such a big deal if it wasn't a reflection of what has been happening in our relationship for a while. so, i'm left feeling devalued and worthless and i start crying right there in front of his whole family. i can't help it! so he takes me in the other room and we start crying together, wiping all the snot off each others' faces and telling one another just to try to be nicer. after about 45 weepingly miserable minutes, we join the family for lunch with our eyes still red and puffy, trying to feign Christmas cheer... fooling nobody.

well at least, later that night, i got to play ping pong.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

new creations!

made these owl scarves today. way sweet. ow, i think they gave me a cavity. somebody cute would wear them.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


 just wanted to post a few of my recent projects of which i'm proud. i just sold them to a clothing store for a nice amount of money today!

these are some hand sewn scarves with a few characters on them. from what i saw when i was in brooklyn recently, this whole 90s flannel thing is coming back. hence the plaid.

close ups of birds and deers. i made an awesome handbag that i neglected to take a picture of.

get all of these and more at Cherry Bomb in Lou, KY or contact me! and i'm about to have a show of my new orleans photography at the Monkey House in late Jan. keep you posted!

so this is the new Live Journal?

i guess i'm not really keeping up with the times because i occasionally still use my live journal to blog.... since 2002!?

well, this may start out on a serious note and may explain my lack of writing in general for the past couple of years. here is a letter i wrote a few weeks ago to somebody who means a lot to me, and the only person who i've ever felt truly understands me:

From: april mayhem
Date: Dec 8, 2008 1:34 PM

yeah. im still getting some shit figured out. i may have to stay here for a while. i never pictured my life beyond certain years, and now, i think, in order to survive, visualization must occur. in essence, i'm in fear of decomposing. i've had my head underground much too long. i'm in the process of resolving my whole past, and not just parts of it. coming to grips with certain mistakes i made when my life seemed worthless and futile and every successive morning was one too many. i don't know if you've ever been to that place, but you've certainly witnessed me in the grips of it. i have floated just above this place for the past 3-4 years, idly associating with one meaningless activity after another, unaware of the compost building beneath my skin. because to rot is a silent gesture.

anyway, i suppose this, moreover, explains something important about which i have needed to express for myself. and i have recently concluded that a thing such as "true nature" exists. i guess, i am now actively in pursuit of this thing, or trying, at least, with much earnestness, to get back to it. and this, decidedly, is a purely mental task.

nick and i are together again. its pretty comfortable. the house is great, warm, the dining room is my messy studio, and i have a cool new house mate named sarah. turtle is the very definition of anthropomorphic. and she becomes more so every day.

how's your life. what are you doing really? like physically. tell me a story. how's your love interest? i guess you're biking a lot. i was riding my 10 speed every day this summer but now its cold and i have my license and all.

you have an idea for a shirt? do tell.

talk to you soon. or hit me up. although i like this writing thing.

and yes, of course, he replied with the sentimentality i expected, the warm comprehension i lacked, and made my sudden earthly estrangement bearable.