Meet Green Lake Author Donna Miscolta
Donna Miscolta receiving the Independent Publisher gold medal in New York in May.
We recently got a tip that a Green Lake resident and author was nominated for a Seattle Weekly Best of Seattle 2017 award. Her name is Donna Miscolta and she is an award winning writer. We asked her a few questions to find out a bit about her writing and ties to Green Lake.
SG: How long have you been writing?
DM: I started writing in the fall of 1992 when I signed up for a fiction writing class through the UW Extension Program. I immediately started a practice of writing an hour each night after work and after the kids were in bed. I’m not a fast writer and often I would produce no more than a few paragraphs, which is why it took so long to produce two books. My novel When the de la Cruz Family Danced was published in 2011, and my story collection Hola and Goodbye came out last year. Of course, a number of those years since 1992 were spent trying to find a publisher.
SG: Is that your full time profession?
DM: I’ve worked full-time as a project manager for King County for almost thirty years. I work on education programs focused on resource conservation and proper use, storage, and disposal of household hazardous products.
SG: Is Hola and Goodbye your first book?
DM: My novel When the de la Cruz Family Danced was published first, but I was often working on both books in parallel over the years, sort of switching back and forth when one or the other project got stalled.
SG: Can you tell me a little bit about Hola and Goodbye?
DM: Hola and Goodbye is a collection of stories about the lives of family members over three generations, the first of which came from Mexico. Language, race, and gender conspire to thwart an easy sense of identity for these family members seeking to belong in America. They must balance loss of the traditional and the familiar with the exhilarating promise of the new.
In the 1920s Southern California, Lupita Camacho settles not far from the border—and so begins the journey of an American family: from fish cannery jobs and halting English of the newcomers to their children’s goals of dancing championships and dreams of kidney-shaped pools, then on to the wide-open lives of the grandchildren: a karaoke barkeep, twin female wrestling champs, a mentally fragile beauty.
Lupita’s American-born children must make peace with lives that never quite match the pages of Ladies Home Journal. Lupita’s English-only-speaking grandchildren discover that they somehow remain not quite “at home in America.” Each of these generations must respond to a particular question: What’s it like to move to a new country and adapt to a new language and culture? What happens to your dreams when opportunities and expectations of you are low? How do you learn to claim your space when you don’t seem to fit? The answers bind these family members to each other, even as they break away to their separate lives.
SG: What inspired you to write it?
DM: I was curious about those three questions above. As someone whose father and maternal grandparents were immigrants, I was interested in how their struggles to assimilate affected them, and how subsequent generations were affected in terms of identity, opportunity, and a sense of place or belonging.
How long have you lived in Green Lake?
DM: My husband and I bought our house in 1984. We raised two daughters in it. We were once the young family on the block. Now we’re the oldsters.
SG: Anything else you would like to add?
DM: The book has received a several awards. First, when it was in manuscript form, it won the Doris Bakwin Award for Writing by a Woman, sponsored by Carolina Wren Press who then published it. Hola and Goodbye has also won an Independent Publisher gold medal for Best Regional Fiction, and it’s a finalist for an International Latino Book Award.
Recently, I was a finalist in the Seattle Weekly Best of Seattle reader poll for Best Author. It was quite a surprise and an honor to be on the list with some famous authors, among them Sherman Alexie, Lindy West, Maria Semple, and Domingo Martinez, who was a finalist for the National Book Award several years ago.
SG: Thank you, Donna. I already have your book on hold at the Green Lake Library.
Green Lake In The News
This weekend was a busy time for Green Lake. When the news helicopters weren’t circling to show footage of Duck Island’s illegally constructed skate park, news of Spud Fish & Chips closing (and reopening in a new building) caused quite a stir.
Here’s your Monday highlights of both stories:
The Illegal Skate Park on Duck Island
The Seattle Times reports that the Parks Department will be taking down the skate park this week and trying to figure out a plan on how to restore the damaged bird habitat.
Spud Fish & Chips Green Lake To Be Redeveloped
The DJC reported last week that “the site of the Spud Fish & Chips restaurant at 6860 E. Green Lake Way N. sold last month for $3.1 million, according to King County records. Redevelopment plans have now been filed for a 59-unit apartment building with ground-floor retail space.”
After the DJC broke the news, nearly a dozen other news outlets picked up the story. But before you panic, Spud isn’t leaving Green Lake, it sounds like they will reopen in the redeveloped building. No word on when the iconic 1959 building will be demolished.
Spud Fish & Chips Green Lake posted the following message on their Facebook page Saturday:
To our valued Spud customers and family:
On July 20, an article in the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce published the sale of Spud Fish and Chips Greenlake and the subsequent plan to build an apartment building in its place. This news came as quite a shock to our customers , and we received a number of calls, Facebook messages and in person inquires voicing sadness about this news. And for that, we apologize. Our owner Pam Cordova Smith has worked at the Greenlake location since she was 14 years old and knows the importance of family and tradition. Spuds has a special place in the hearts of many of our customers who have frequented our business over the years and that is something that we cherish and do not take lightly.
We want you to know that Spud Fish and Chips Greenlake is still open and we do not plan on closing any time soon. The same great-tasting fish and chips you love will still be a staple at Greenlake, but in a new, renovated space. As plans progress and solidify, we will do a better job of informing you, our valued Spud family, on updates about the new space. Thank you for the many years of laughter and memories and here’s to many more to come!
While we are happy to hear that Spud will be staying in Green Lake we are sad to see yet another iconic Seattle building with so much charm being demolished for redevelopment.
Green Lake’s Duck Island Illegal Skate Park
Photo via King 5
By now you have probably heard that Green Lake’s Duck Island has an illegal skate park. And if not, here’s the CliffsNotes version: a group of individuals built a skate “bowl” in secret as part of the Nike’s SB Project 58. The Nike endorsed site has since been taken down, but according to The Seattle Times, the project “encouraged skateboard shops to either extend an existing skatepark or build their own and upload the video so fans could vote on winners.” The video showed the group mixing concrete on the island to make the “bowl” of the skate structure.
Needless to say the city and Seattle Parks Department are not happy. The island was designated as a nature reserve in the mid 1950s and humans are not allowed to step foot on the island.
We’ve reached out to the Parks Department to find out more about what kind of damage the structure caused and what their next steps are for restoring the island. When we get a response we will update this post.
According to an article in this morning’s Seattle Times, disassembling the structure could involve a floating dock.
While many have expressed interest in seeing the skate structure, the Seattle Police are getting involved and humans are still warned to stay off the island.
How To Know If The Green Lake Wading Pool Is Open
Photo by Susan Rouser
Seattle weather is a fickle beast. It’s sunny and beautiful and the next minute its fleece weather. That might have you asking “is the wading pool open today?” All of the city wading pools open when the temperature is forecast to be 70 degrees or above. But is it 70′ in Green Lake? Save yourself a trip. You can find out in 2 clicks. Seattle Wading Pools and Spray Parks have a Facebook page to announce opening and closings (due to weather etc) on all outdoor pools. Or you can call the wading pool hotline, (206) 684-7796, which is updated every morning by 9:30 a.m.
And just as a reminder the Green Lake Wading pool is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. through September 4.
Green Lake Herron
Photo by Dustin Guy
This photo was taken earlier this year before the white blossoming water lilies grew up around the “turtle log” at the west side of the lake. Has anyone else noticed that herons tend to congregate more on the west side of the lake? This may be why.
Bartell Drugs Green Lake Opens Next Week And Other Openings In Green Lake
Bartell Drugs has just announced it is opening its new Green Lake location on July 16. The 14,000+ square foot store will be across the street from Green Lake Village at 419 NE 71st St. The shelves look fully stocked and the signs are up. The store’s grand opening is planned for July 29 at 8 a.m. where word has it that the first 200 people in the door will get a chance to win a $500 gift card.
The new store phone number is: 206-524-0763, pharmacy 206-288-0052.
The hours will be:
Mon – Fri 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Sat + Sun 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Mon – Fri 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Sat 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Sun 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
The website will launch next week.
In other news of local openings, Revolution Coffee’s anticipated July 4th opening has been pushed back a bit. The Green Lake coffee shop moved recently to its new location at 7208 E Green Lake Drive. It’s doors remained closed and no word on the actual opening. We will keep you posted. The promise of coffee and ice cream has us excited for this opening.
Historic Olmsted Green Lake Park Tour July 15
Once a year the Friends of Seattle Olmsted Parks hosts a guided tour of Green Lake Park, so mark your calendars for Saturday July 15. History buffs know that Green Lake was designed by the Olmsteds, the same architects who designed Central Park. To find out more on the Olmsted influence of Green Lake Park you should read our previous post AND sign up for this annual walking tour hosted this Saturday.
The two hour walking tour will include photographs, plans and other images to show landscapes and the changes to the park overtime. The tour will circle the lake, so bring your walking shoes (and maybe a sun hat).
It is free to the public and appropriate for all ages.
Here’s the details: July 15 at 10 a.m. Meet at the NE corner of the Green Lake Community Center
For more information, visit The Friend of Seattle Olmsted Parks website: www.seattleolmsted.org.
Events In And Around Green Lake July 16 – 28
Before summer schedules fill, here’s a few close-to-home events that you may want to add to your calendar.
Pet Blessing at Green Lake
As part of their outdoor worship service, the Green Lake United Methodist Church “will include a blessing of the non-homo sapien members of your family.”
Sunday, July 16, 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Address: Green Lake Park, in the grassy area with picnic tables near the Sunnyside Ave crosswalk (See website for map of exact location)
Seattle Training Run 1 and 2 for the Jingle Bell Run
It’s not too early to start training for December’s Jingle Bell Run! Take advantage of the longer daylight hours and join others on one or both of these training runs. Free.
Mondays, July 17 and July 24, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Address: Super Jock ‘n Jill (7210 E Green Lake Dr. N)
Website: Run 1 and Run 2
ZooTunes Concert: Aimee Mann / Rhiannon Giddens
The only ZooTunes concert date in July, this event brings together the acoustic sounds of Aimee Mann with the folk sounds of Rhiannon Giddens. Both artists are Grammy-award winners and have released multiple albums. $29.50 plus ticket fees, one free child under 12 per paid ticket, but must register in advance.
Tuesday, July 18, doors open at 4:30 p.m., show is 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Address: Woodland Park Zoo North Meadow (West Entrance – 5500 Phinney Ave. N)
Dog Days of Summer Festival and 5K
The two-day festival includes the Green Lake Cutest Dog Contest (benefitting the Homeward Pet Adoption Center and C.A.S.T. For Kids Organization), the Dog Days of Summer 5k (benefits the Green Lake Community Center and includes a Puppy Parade and free Kids’ Dash), and sales and discounts at participating Green Lake businesses. $40-45 for the 5k registration through July 22, $50-55 for day-of registration. For other registration info and prices, see the website.
Saturday, July 22 and Sunday, July 23
Address: See website for individual event locations
11th Annual Summer Beer Taste at the Phinney Neighborhood Center
Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love and get ten tastes from over 30 local microbreweries and cideries, plus Barking Dog Alehouse hot dogs and pub snacks. 21+ event. PNA member $25, General Public $30, Designated Driver $10.
Saturday, July 22, 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Address: Phinney Neighborhood Center Lower Parking Lot (6532 Phinney Ave. N)
Tasting Flight – Wine Event at Woodland Park Zoo
Tickets for this 21+ fundraiser include 10 tastings from more than 40 Northwest boutique wineries, animal encounters, As part of the zoo’s commitment to sustainability, this is a Bring Your Own Glass event. VIP tickets include a souvenir glass. A limited number of souvenir glasses are available for purchase. $32 regular ticket, $80 VIP ticket (includes early entrance, souvenir glass, additional wine tickets, light buffet, and zoo tickets).
Thursday, July 27 and Friday, July 28, 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. VIP entry at 5:00 p.m.
Address: Woodland Park Zoo – North Meadow (West Entrance – 5500 Phinney Ave. N)
Green Lake Open Report: July Restaurant News
via Revolutions Coffee Instagram
Two notable changes to Green Lake area restaurants.
Bongos recently underwent a few renovations including a larger kitchen (read faster service!) and renovated outdoor seating area. The remodel created a boardwalk through the old seating area, which now has a bit more shade. Don’t worry, the sand is still there for the kiddos.
As we posted previously, Revolutions Coffee is moving, but just a few blocks within Green Lake to 7208 E Greenlake Dr N. It is set to do a soft launch opening on the 4th of July. In addition to their coffee menu you will now find an expanded food menu with sandwiches, West Seattle’s Husky Deli ice cream and baked goods. They are also currently applying for their beer and wine license.
Green Lake, Seattle
#TBT to this undated postcard.