January 10, 2003

Tijuana Bloguita Front: A New Way to Publish Literature

By Pablo de Sainz

For Tijuana writers, literature can be divided before and after the Internet. Many of them still remember the old days when it was very difficult for northern Mexican writers to publish in mainstream publishing houses, the majority of them located in Mexico City.

Today, some authors who are writing in Tijuana have found new channels to publish their work, without having to sell out to the Chilango literary rules, those rules created by writers from the nation’s capital. The Internet has become the biggest publishing house where Tijuana writers can publish anything they write, without fear of rejection, without worrying if their work will sell, or its “literary value” for that matter.

For writers living in TJ, the blog has become the perfect place to publish and to read the writings of others. According to Blog Spot, the web’s most popular blog publisher, “A blog is a web page made up of usually short, frequently updated posts that are arranged chronologically—like a what’s new page or a journal. The content and purposes of blogs varies greatly—from links and commentary about other web sites, to news about a company/person/idea, to diaries, photos, poetry, mini-essays, project updates, even fiction.”

A group of writers from Tijuana have formed a group of blogs called Tijuana Bloguita Front, also known as TJBF. Each member has his or her own blog spot.

Heriberto Yépez, one of the most active TJBF members and one of Tijua-na’s most prolific writers, said that this group was formed by Rafa Saavedra, also known as Rafa Dro, El Escritor Increible, a DJ, an experimental writer, and cultural critic and promoter.

“Thanks to Rafa Saavedra a group of people began forming,” Yépez said. “This group named itself TJBF (Tijuana Bloguita Front), a group that now has more than a hundred people writing. Before this experience, only a few of us were publishing. So what the TJBF does isn’t literature, but something better: a series of daily life journals or on-line philosophy. It has also served as an excuse to organize parties.”

More than anything else, said Yépez, the TJBF works a way to turn “writing” into an everyday thing, without the glamour of “authorship.”

“It gives me tremendous pleasure to see that so many people are writing,” Yépez said. “For me, (the act of) writing is so easy to use and as necessary as speech. So the TJBF consists of that: to turn writing into a common social practice and not exclusively as a specialized literary exercise of a few.”

And the World of Blogs doesn’t discriminate: the TJBF is composed of “established” and “recognized” writers like novelist Cristina Rivera Garza, who’s also a History professor at San Diego State University; but the group also includes young and new writers like the poet Juan Carlos Reyna.

Some of the blogs that are part of the TJBF are Cross-fader v. 2 by Rafa Saavedra (this blog contains links to all other members of the Tijuana Bloguita Front); Filtro Cerebral Especifico by Mayra Luna; Literatura aleatoria by Bruno Ruiz; Post-Everything de Mr. Ejival by Ejival; and Poeta empirica S.A. de C.V. by Amaranta Caballero.

And as a slogan asks in Rafa Saavedra’s Cross-fader v. 2, “What are you waiting to blog?” You can start your own blog by going to www.blogspot.com and following the instructions.

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