Thursday, November 10, 2005

Homer in Homer

This is a painting by local artist Leslie Klaar, who I interviewed today. She had a contagious enthusiasm that you don’t find much, even in artists. We talked for more than an hour about her life story, and I have to whittle it down to a 700-word profile. Sigh. But she showed me this painting that sparked a little de-ja-vu tingle when I first saw it. My camera flash pretty much washed it out, but it’s a painting of the Sterling Highway right before it drops into town. You can see the Spit snaking out into Kachemak Bay in the background. I liked it because this is exactly what I saw when I first turned this corner on Sept. 11. It was like looking at a reflection of my own memory … an abstract illustration of what I was feeling at the time. I don’t know. It’s one of those weird art things you can’t explain.

I’ve interviewed a lot of people since I came to town, and Leslie was more polite than most when I introduced myself … a hearty handshake and nothing more said about my name. Most often I get “Homer. You’re name is Homer? No! Really?” (Stifled snickers).

A few say, “Are you related to the founder?,” which is dumb. I’ve only lived here two months and even I know that the town was named after Homer Pennock, a gold prospector who I guess liked his first name better.

I was starting to feel like the only Homer in Homer until my co-worker met a middle-school-aged kid named Homer Olsen, while attending a shark dissection lab on a Saturday … voluntarily, I might add. “Is he from here?” I asked. “I think so,” my co-worker said. He’s probably a great kid, but man, what a cruel fate. I feel for you, Homer.