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Book Review - Three Tides - Part 5

In this final piece of Pineda’s puzzle she gives us the entire theatrical production, "Like Snow Melting in Water," which came from her previously described emptying and gathering processes. It was sparked by an article she ran across in the New York Times about a dying village in Japan. Apparently, she worked on it for 2 years and originally conceived of it as a novel, but she explained that it decided itself to be a work of the theatre instead. On the surface, someone outside this process might wonder how Pineda, with no particular tangible connection to Japan, could write something set there. But she does it, and she does it beautifully.

And having followed her through her process as I have during this sometimes convoluted though always interesting journey, I can see clearly how her explanation makes sense. She says that she learned what it was to be a refugee first from her husband, and perhaps it was her contact with Katrina victims which reminded her of it, and that lif…

Book Review - Three Tides - Part 4

Pineda’s ‘gathering’ chapters are all about the epic destruction of Katrina. I come away from this reading feeling some sense of relief that many people are decent human beings who will help others in times of need, including Pineda herself. Pineda talks a lot about the strong sense of community in New Orleans before the hurricane and that during the hurricane the effected people were repeatedly “helping one another, sharing what they had.” 
But the sense of relief at the humanity between individual people, gave way very quickly to disgust at the negligence of the organizations meant to help. Starting with the callous government officials who actually seem to have viewed Katrina as an opportunity to ‘clean up’ the “public housing” of New Orleans in favor of “urban renewal.” Rep. Richard Baker actually said as much, adding, “We couldn’t do it, but God did.” Apparently, they blew up the levees intentionally to sacrifice the poorer parts of town, in order to save the richer areas and tour…

Book Review - Three Tides - Part 3

In the remainder of the “Emptying” segment of Three Tides, Chapter 2: Hip, Hip, But Not Hurrah, Chapter 3: Love and War, and Chapter 4: Summing Up; Pineda covers her battle with her HMO to receive treatment for her mystery ailment, the course of a new relationship against the backdrop of the upcoming war in Iraq, and a brief summation of her general feelings about the state of the world. Every time I read Pineda I am always struck by the poetic beauty of her word choices. She can write these amazingly constructed, evocative, insightful, impactful sentences which seem to want to stick with me forever, and I hope they do.  

When she describes a glacial melt during an Alaskan cruise she says, “they yield up the air they may have held for hundreds of millennia.” And when she speaks of the return of romance in her life she describes love as, “momentary consolation for the enduring pain of living.” And even in describing people milling about while talking on their cellphones her sentences ha…