I was immediately intrigued by the title, "Ocean Park #12"; Diebenkorn is one of my favorite artists.
Present tense story about two women, one of whom has breast cancer, moves from their days in college to "the ambush of middle age." Roommates fifteen years prior and now several friends have come together to financially and psychologically support their friend, Lola.
Sense of place, earlier and later, of the women's apartment in Santa Monica with its "generous street side haulaway economy" and later, "new row of candy-corn-colored condos" creates nice visuals. "Bald and sort of blonde. Skinny," "twiggy bronze horse," "…wooden shavings with red borders," and "stretchy web of bright orange and brown yarn" are some of the many descriptors.
Lola and Teresa are developed characters but only insomuch as necessary or needed in this story of these particular aspects of their lives.
A giant plaster bunny rabbit is used for taking Easter photos of Mark's children. Death and resurrection. Woven in with death and dying are the Gulf Wars and the Iraq War. "Later, Teresa added tanks and helicopters, cruise missiles, soldier silhouettes, arrows indicating movements, flags. The war eventually became her MFA thesis project."
Weaving illness, death, war, art, beauty and aging makes "Ocean Park #12" an enjoyable read but also one that evokes complex thoughtfulness.
"Ocean Park #12" was published in Santa Monica Review in the spring 2008 issue.