Writing, baking and my day job as a phone interpreter come together in this story. To read the full essay, click on the link below:
I’m always surprised that new readers continue to find and comment on The Mango Bride even 8 years after it was first released. Learning that my novel was included in this list was an unexpected honor and delight. Click on the link below to read the full article:
On April Fools’ Day I was surprised not by a prank, but by an article by Alicia de Leon Torres, published in our local newspaper. In it, Alicia profiled my writing, the day job as a Filipino phone interpreter, and my years long involvement with arts projects in San Diego. It was an honor and delight to be acknowledged in this way. Read the article by clicking on this link: https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/someone-san-diego-should-know/story/2021-03-31/someone-san-diego-should-know-marivi-soliven-blanco
Amid a worldwide pandemic, the San Diego Central Library continued to promote literacy and support local writers, going above and beyond curbside book pickups. The San Diego Decameron Project is a collection of 100 flash fiction stories centered on this modern-day plague. My story was accepted for inclusion this anthology and was among the top ten that were performed at the virtual book launch last February. Listen to it by clicking on the link below. Hardbound copies will be available within the year.
I employed food as a metaphor for love and home in my novel. On this episode of The Talk with Rose Tibayan, I moderated a discussion on Filipino food and how it is recreated, and reimagined by fellow Pinoy expatriates Professor Martin Manalansan, Culinarista Michael Gil Magnaye, Cookbook author Betty Ann Quirino and Covid survivor Emot Verzola Farley who continued cooking despite her temporary loss of smell and taste. Click on this link to listen to our conversation.
Filipino food appears in my novel as a metaphor for love in The Mango Bride. For millions of expatriate Filipinos like me, traditional dishes also help us recreate the sounds, scents and delicious flavors of home. I’ve invited a marvelous panel of home cooks to discuss our culinary obsessions and adventures.
After contracting Covid 19, Emot Verzola continued to cook despite losing her sense of taste and smell. Learn how she adjusted her recipes to accommodate that temporary but significant disability. In the Before Times, Michael Gil Magnaye traveled the world attending conferences for his day job as a development director. He is assembling a collection of essays on obscure but wildly popular Filipino restaurants in Europe. Professor Martin Manalansan outlines the political context behind mainstream American culture pinning Filipino food down to stereotypical dishes like adobo, lumpia and pansit. Finally, cookbook author Betty Ann Quirino zeroes in on a food-centric scene from my novel that resonated with her own efforts to recreate home by cooking Filipino dishes.
The talk is free and promises to be delicious. To register for this conversation, please click on this link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/revisiting-mango-bride-with-marivi-soliven-tickets-137214447105
I look forward to sharing the virtual stage next with these phenomenal women next Wednesday, January 27, 7 p.m. ET/4 pm PT. Each of us represent a decade from the 20s through the 70s and will tell a story based on the theme of resilience and perseverance. Mine is about Stress Baking and Covid. Tickets are available at the link below. Ticket holders who can’t catch the live performance will have access to the recording on a private Youtube channel.
I retired from organized religion years ago, but remember all too well the dreariness of Lent, when good Catholics were expected to abstain from chocolate or wine or some other delectable indulgence. Ironically, for Lent this year, the Covid 19 pandemic compelled me to revert to being that “good Catholic” once more, for I had to abstain from a favorite indulgence: cooking dinner for friends.
Consequently, I have become obsessed with cooking dinner for family. Not just a meal, but dessert. Here is ourHoly Week of meals.
Apart from cooking, another source of solace in this time of social distancing is the view from my kitchen window. Some weeks ago, a pair of mourning doves decided to nest in the hanging planter of fuschias.
There will be no photos of Easter Sunday dinner, because even obsessive cooks need to take a day off.
After hearing horror stories about long lines of people storming Walmart to buy fabric for face masks, I decided to go shopping in my closet instead.
I donated my Victoria Secret bras after the company was disgraced by its association with Jeffrey Epstein and the #Metoo movement, but for some reason forgot to reattach their straps before giving them away! Serendipity must be the stepmother of invention, because I realized I could upcycle the straps as the base for face masks Dr. Fauci has advised everyone to wear.
If you have a strap with two panels like the one above, pull the two hooks together as though you wanted the strap to be as short as possible. Using a sharp knife or scissors, cut the seam between the two panels until they can open wide enough for the top panel to slip over your nose, and the bottom one, under you chin.
Any soft cloth will work for the mask itself – a handkerchief or a piece cut out of an old T-shirt. Since the neighborhood yoga studio is closed for the foreseeable future, I upcycled one of my Manduka headbands.
Fold the headband obliquely on itself so that it looks like a pair of parentheses lying down. Sew the outer edge of the top parenthesis to the bra strap’s top panel and the outer edge of the bottom parenthesis to the bottom panel. Stitch overlapping centers of the headband together.
If you’re using a handkerchief or T-shirt, ignore the parentheses bit and just stitch on enough fabric to cover your face. Extra points for ruching on either side of the mask.
If the mask is too tight, cut into the seams and pull the panels apart a little bit at a time until it fits comfortably over your ears without pulling on those eyebags.
Only a fool would refuse to use a face mask in this pandemic and I do not suffer fools gladly.
In other news, I did an interview last Friday on Chat And Spin Radio, a British talk show. You can listen to a recording of the full show at this link, or skip to minute 41 to catch my interview.