Olga García Echeverría
|Fotos: Rotmi Enciso|
Shortly after tatiana de la tierra passed away in the summer of 2012, her website went down. My brother managed to temporarily put it back up. Later in the year, though, the link was dead again. For the past two years, the website has flickered in and out of existence. Mostly, its been dormant.
Not having full access to tatiana on the Web drove me mad, as I'm sure it did many people who love and miss her. tatiana had invested a great deal of time and effort in her original website. She had a particular aesthetic too--clean, simple, bonito. In the spirit of Literature for All, she had also carefully selected a wide range of previously published materials to share on the site. Anyone could visit delatierra.net and read "Mujeres con barbas," "Visions of Colombia," "Big Fat Pussy Girl," and so much more.
I don't know much about websites, so the job of resurrecting tatiana's electronic domain mainly fell on the shoulders of my brother, Mario Garcia, and my girlfriend, Maritza Alvarez. They both are pretty busy individuals, juggling work, deadlines, and just plain old life, but like me, they both loved tati, and she loved them.
On the surface, it may seem very simple. A website goes down? Put it back up. Ya estuvo. But it wasn't so easy. tatiana's website resurrection project was emotional at the core. Yes, we have always known how important it was to get the site back up and share it con todos, but the loss of tatiana in 2012 left us all a bit spellbound, mourning. Also, tatiana was ultra picky. Because we respected her and her work so much, we knew we needed to be realistic and take our time verus rushing to put something/anything up.
What we had when we embarked on the journey of reconstructing tatiana's site were files of the old website (almost all of them) and also the memory of what the site looked and felt liked. We also had everything she and her mother Fabiola had left us--boxes of papers, libros, fotos, muebles, piedras, lamps, Colombian casitas en el campo, ojos de Dios, bath salts, so, so, so many things. We were surrounded by tatiananess, especially at my brother's office where tatiana herself had, during her final weeks, designated box after box be sent to "La Oficina de Mario."
Since I had witnessed tatiana's initial website journey--she was meticulous and obsessed about cada detalle--I had a pretty good idea of what she wouldn't want and what was important to her. I knew that reconstructing her website would have to be done como ella lo hubiera querido, and because we did not want to run the risk of injecting too much of our own ideas and aesthetics into it, we made an agreement to make the site as close to the original as possible.
My job during the process was mainly to be a bossy overseer. I wasn't at my brother's office regularly. I just showed up every now and then and made comments or suggestions. Yes, I was super annoying. Imagine, "No, no, no, tatiana wouldn't like that. Asi no era el original. tatiana always had a site map. We have to add a site map. tatiana..." I got exasperated miradas and sighs from Maritza and Mario, who were putting in the real labor whenever they had the time, but mostly my tati-demands were met with patience and understanding.
I asked Maritza what working on the website was like for her, and here is what she shared. “Being a part of the collaborative process to relaunch tatiana's website was both an honor and a unique opportunity. It was also a memorable and special experience. I recall several times sitting in front of the computer for hours as I read through her writings and browsed through her photos. Often there were moments when I blurted out 'damn, she's bad-ass!' Then my eyes would swell up with tears because I was better able to understand why she was so terribly missed by so many. I also found myself laughing aloud because she had such an unapologetic rhythm and rhyme to her writings! All these things I had heard of from you, Olga, but revamping her website felt like I was personally discovering them for myself. And those were definitely special moments! I will always appreciate and cherish them. Who wouldn't?”
My brother had the following to say (I believe it's partly in tatiana-Mario code because they shared a special bond).
"mono cosmico azul, sirena, tomate, hermana shamana, puro fuego
blue cosmic monkey, mermaid, tomato, shamanic sister, pure fire
tatiana was a great friend and teacher, so I feel honored that she chose me to be one of her keepers...amongst the many boxes, writings, artwork, furniture, bed sheets, and such...tatiana lives among us, when we sit in her rocking chair at the office, stare at the Botero painting, read her poems, and especially when I have to carry her very heavy boxes (insert happy face)."
Bueno, this is our bloga for today and here is the website link again, in case you missed it.
Please visit it and share it! If you knew tatiana, you will surely be delighted to read or re-read some of her classics. If you didn't know tatiana and are wondering why I am always mentioning her in my blogs, check out her work and enjoy. All of the tabs on the site, the chosen literature, and the general organization of the materials are from tatiana's original webpage. The exception is the tab entitled Suerte Sirena, where we have added a picture of tatiana taken by Rotmi Enciso and Ina Riaskowa, a quote from me, and links to tributes to tatiana. There are still a couple of future tabs to be added, one that will feature links to tatiana's blogs here at La Bloga, and another one that will connect visitors to tatiana's archives at UCLA. But all of that is for Resurrection delatierra.net Part II.
Hasta next time, gracias and happy Sunday!