Sunday, July 27, 2014

Here & Now: A Tribute to tatiana de la tierra in El Sereno

Olga Garcia Echeverria

tatiana selfie entre coffee beans en Colombia

el pecado original es olvidar que somos diosas
--tatiana de la tierra, "Sabidurias"

July 31st marks the 2nd-year anniversary of the passing of escritora tatiana de la tierra. If you search tatiana on the internet, you will find pictures of her numerous readings and travels, bios that highlight pieces of her life: Colombian-born. Bilingual Lesbian writer. Immigrant. Librarian.Author of For The Hard Ones: A Lesbian Phenomenology. Maker of cardboard poetry books. Co-founder and editor of Esto No Tiene Nombre and Conmocion, two of the first revistas to publish the literary musings and photographs of Latina Lesbians in Latin America and the U.S.

What the bios cannot capture, however, is the impact that tatiana made in the lives of so many of us, las huellas que dejo not only in Long Beach, Los Angeles, Nueva York, Florida, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, but also in Argentina, Puerto Rico, Spain, Mexico City, Colombia, Chile y Cuba. tatiana was a perpetual border-crosser and everywhere she went, she sought out kindred spirits and made connections. Yesterday, a small group of us gathered at Here & Now in El Sereno to celebrate tatiana's  life and work. I can't think of a better location to have honored tatiana. Here & Now is a lovely community space where art, literature, and healing happens. It's a recent manifestation of two women dreamers/artistas--Iris De Anda and Cat Uribe, the latter of whom was a dear friend of tatiana's. During those final months when tatiana was dying of cancer, Cat was one of the many people who helped tatiana transition from this world into the next.

When I first visited Here & Now about a month ago, it was obvious to me that a lot of love and work had gone into creating this space. Aesthetically, it's beautiful, full of color, light, and a sense of lightness, as if something or someone were saying, "Welcome. Come in." The first thing I wanted to do when I entered Here & Now was lay on the floor and stretch. The interior is open and uncluttered, very Zen. On the numerous shelves, you'll find incense, sage, aromatic oils and soaps, candles, healing rocks and crystals, jewelry, and of course, books. There's an old typewriter too where visitors can let their words flow onto a white page. There's no white out or correcting. Just fingers on keys and raw words. Towards the back, there is a healing room where things like massage and Reiki sessions are offered. When I mentioned to Cat that the space had a strong tatiana vibe, she laughed in delight and shared that tatiana has definitely inspired her to take risks and follow her heart in regards to co-founding this new community space. "She's been guiding me through the entire manifestation of Here & Now."

When I asked Cat about this year's tribute to tatiana, she said, "tatiana has touched so many lives. So many of us came together for her at the end when she was passing. That for me really solidified a group of people that had something in common: we loved tatiana and she loved us. I feel it's really important to remember and honor that love and remember that connection." And that is exactly what we did last night at Here & Now.

Cat Saging the tatiana Altar

We honored tatiana with hundreds of flowers: roses, freesia, stargazers, lilies, nardos, birds of paradise, and lots of other petaled beauties that I do not know the names of.  We honored her with papaya-love split open on the altar.

We honored her with Buddha, Jaguar, Guadalupe, sea shells and cajitas holding treasures--little crystals, miniature fotos of her beloved Colombia.

We honored her with food. Queer organic salads. Kale creations. Quinoa con cranberry. Avocado con hominy. Nopales. Queso fresco. Homemade salsa. A platter of grapes, sliced apples and peeled naranjas. A bowl of delicious cherries. Upside down pineapple cakes (gluten and gluten free). Baked BBQ pollo and a big bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken (which I think she would have been totally grossed out by but she still would have eaten and enjoyed it). We honored her with drink. Agua de Tamarindo. Melon. Vino. Shots of Aguardiente. Que viva tatiana de la tierra! Que viva! And, of course, we honored and celebrated her with her own poetic words. Local poet Gloria Alvarez got us started.

We passed Tatiana's numerous books around as if they were el pan de cada dia and we took turns reading, feeding ourselves and each other with the memories and the voice/spirit/presence that was and still is tatiana de la tierra.  In the literary mix, tatiana's "Puta Rap," advise for "When Cunt is angry," "Sabidurias" from an experienced 50 year old, un reclamo to an ex who seemingly loved her dog more than she did tatiana, "Prisonera de tu perro," and the meditations on the tongue--always with tatiana there were the endless meditations of the tongue.

Photo by Jose Centeno

Y asi la pasamos. Passing around tati's books. Cat Uribe read. Maylei Blackwell read. Mario Garcia y Jose Centeno read. Maritza Alvarez and I read. Anthony Seidman and Myriam Gurba read. Persephone Gonzalez read. Iris De Anda read. Even the Argentinos (Alberto, Monica, y Laura) who had never personally met tatiana picked up her books and beautifully read.

La noche ended the way tatiana would have wanted, con danza and cansancio. Bellies full y corazones contentos.

tatiana fan club (one of many in the world)


Anonymous said...

What a beautiful tribute. I'm sure Tatiania loved it

Melinda said...

Thank you

msedano said...


Rene Colato Lainez said...

Siempre llevaremos a Tatiana en el corazón

Rosita Libre de Marulanda said...

Tatiana, te recordé en tu aniversario sin recordar que era tu aniversario. Te invité por Facebook a una meditación global para invocar un cambio síquico por la paz en el Medio Oriente. Te la envié para comunicarle a tu red de este gran evento y tu mamá me contestó. ¡Qué lindo!

Al visitar tu página, encontré una liga a La Bloga cuya narrativa documenta cómo te recordaron para el segundo aniversario de tu partida con reunión, tus libros, comidas, bailes, jugos, y tragos en ciertos espacios que no conozco donde te quieren igual que te queremos en Nueva York.

¡Que lindo que tu página de Facebook se mantiene viva; te mantiene viva! ¡Que lindo que el mundo te recuerda con tus escrituras, con recuerdos de ti, mujer linda, atrevida, peligrosa, creadora, libre.

Te quiero -- Rosita