Every Time You Watch Hoarders, You Become Infuriated

Four boxed sewing machines. Package after package fills the spaces in your childhood home. Mother was a hoarder. Mother dotes on unopened electronics. Mother doesn’t allow you to use the fridge. Or the stove. Or the bathroom. Mother banishes you to a room upstairs. Every hallway becomes a museum to the unopened. Label makers, sewing kits, fabric, fabric, fabric, mountains of unused office supplies, of kitchen utensils, mother doesn’t cook. Mother doesn’t sew. Boxes and boxes and boxes. Mother yells at you when you need to get work done. Spare beds, but no spare rooms. Curtains, 70s brown and orange print, unpacked. Yellowed shirts still in their original packaging with a price label from 1978. All the spare rooms are just filled with objects. Shoes that never fit mother or her children. Books. Exercise machines. Orange mold, filling the bathroom, a fungus and stale air. Mother never listens or cleans. Mother tries to make you chew on dust. Mother collects, collects, collects. Mother never uses. Mother doesn’t mother.

Shaye sits in a home, filled with dilapidated anchors of Hollywood, and discusses her disfigurement, experiments done by the CIA on her, her decaying beauty and revitalizing of said beauty via mannequin parts. Shaye, of course, is not real, but simultaneously is very real. Created by the late absurdist artist, Eric Fournier, Shaye grew her own following and relationships in a niche area of the internet, an early internet where LiveJournal reined and anonymity was still an option for the digital age. Shaye is a wild experiment of what art could be –living and odd, giving us surreal Grey Gardens- esque, D-List celebrity hoarder horror and endearing vibes. Yes, vibes. Shaye is definitely a vibe.

For me, the absurd underground/outside art of internet culture has been a major influence on my own work, and Shaye Saint John, her ‘uhhhuhhhh’ hand thing, her tragedy, her being homebound due to fear and her escape from isolation via the internet resonated with me, a teenager who grew up in the cusp of the internet being our all-consuming livelihoods. I encourage you to dive into Shaye’s life, and Fournier’s work, as it becomes an Internet artifact, a history of outsider out, a critique of excessive Hollywood starlets and a sympathetic look at a woman who lost so much, but still shines despite her pain. Sadly, much of the work produced by Fournier is not easily accessible, but for the few who enjoy, there are archives of Fournier’s work. I recommend starting with my favorite video, HAND THING.




Ashley Miranda is a latinx poet from Chicago. Their work has been previously featured by the Cotton Xenomorph, Memoir Mixtapes, Witch Craft Mag, MAKE magazine and other publications. You can get a copy of their recent chapbook, dolores in spanish is pain, dolores in lolita is a girl, from Glass Poetry Press. Ashley tweets far too much and would love to be your friend on Twitter: @dustwhispers

Banner image by Olivia Cronk