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Regional Writer’s Showcase 2016

2016 Regional Writers’ Showcase:

Join us on Monday April 25th and Monday May 2nd at 7:00 PM for the 2016 Regional Writers’ Showcase, our annual collaboration with Geva Theatre Center.

Monday, April 25, 7:00 pm in the Fielding
Phone Call, by Phyllis Peters (10 minute-play)
When your dad is one of the most recognized figures in the world, it can be tough to form your own identity. Maybe it’s time to convince the legend to embrace retirement.
Fielder’s Choice, by David Andreatta (one-act drama)
To rejuvenate their strained relationship, Frank and his son Owen revive a tradition of visiting all the major league baseball parks. When trouble arises back home with his new wife and stepson, Frank is faced with difficult decisions about loyalty, tradition, and how to define family.

Monday, May 2, 7:00 pm in the Fielding
Denny Killington, Master Detective!, by Scott Seifritz (full-length comedy)
It’s 1940, and when the stars of a popular radio show take a weekend getaway to Lake Champlain, they find themselves thrust into a real-life murder mystery. Can they keep their stories straight long enough to crack the case? Find out in this quick-witted romp filled with mystery, intrigue, and sea monsters!

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My So-Called NaPoWriMo Life

For those of you who didn’t know, April is National Poetry Writing Month! This blog post was written by our resident poet and Director of Adult Programming, Al Abonado.


I am going to write terrible poems. I don’t start with the intention of writing bad poems, but I know I will. I accept this as a given. National Poetry Month is also known as National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo) for many poets. For the past few years, I, like many other poets, try to write a poem every day for the month of April. This is poetry’s analog to National Novel Writing Month.

For some, this month can be a necessary injection of creative energy, or an exciting exercise. Some may use this as an excuse to force themselves through any kind of writer’s block. NaPoWriMo has become a ritual for many of my writing friends. During this month, I share my writing with a circle of writers. We exchange supportive notes and writing prompts that help stimulate our writing. Some years have been more productive than others, but I always look forward to participating.

For me, NaPoWriMo isn’t so much about the volume of finished writing, but the volume of failure. It is about learning to accept that failure as a necessary part of any writing. NaPoWriMo can be invigorating, surprising, depressing, and infuriating.

To date, I have completed fifteen poems, not all of which are good. Maybe none are good. I haven’t really spent too much time thinking about them since I wrote them. I will have plenty of time after this month to go back and reshape the scraps into something substantial. For now, I take pleasure in the act of writing, relieve myself of any expectations about writing “well,” and enjoy writing as an exploratory activity.
Here, I try to chart my progress over the past 20 days, describing the various waves of excitement, guilt, shame, laziness, distraction, and joy that I have experienced so far.

Day 1

This is easy. I have so many ideas that I find impossible to suppress and I have a laptop that is fully charged. I am armed with prompts and other writers. I am open to the universe and what the universe provides: poetry and wine.

Day 4

I believe in positive reinforcement. Poems are better when they are reinforced by food. When I finish this poem, I will celebrate with a hamburger.

Day 8

I have written a poem that needs more than one day. This is a two-day poem. This may be a three-day poem. I can write more poems on another day. Maybe, I will split this poem into two poems. A stanza for each day. Does it matter? No one will know the difference. I don’t think I know the difference.

Day 12

I am such a fraud. I can’t do this for an entire month. I am going to make dioramas instead. I am going to finally finish The Wire. This poem and the one before that and the one before that have all been terrible. April is not a month for poetry; it is a month for shame and regret.

Day 13

It’s okay if I don’t write today. I need to file my taxes.

Day 14

It’s okay if I don’t write today. I did not file my taxes yesterday.

Day 15

I want to write a poem today, but I also want to watch trailers for The Jungle Book. First, I will watch trailers for The Jungle Book and eat Doritos, and then, I will write a poem. My wife does not want to see The Jungle Book so I lie and tell her that Jason Statham is the voice of the bear. This is not true, but she likes Jason Statham. I am hoping Jason Statham as a talking bear is enough of a reason to convince her to see this movie.

Day 15 pt. 2

I spend an hour on IMDB looking up other movies Jason Statham has been in. He has been in more movies than I thought. I did not know they made a Transporter 3. I will not tell my wife about the latest Transporter movie, although I suspect she already knows.

Day 15 pt. 3

I watch a video about a lion, a tiger, and a bear that had been removed from the home of an abusive and wealthy drug dealer. Two of them are named after characters in The Jungle Book! The animals now live together in a sanctuary. The video makes me want to hold them and feed them something meaty. I should really write a poem today. I could write a poem with a bear in it. I probably will not write a poem, but I am thinking about poetry and that is also pretty good.

Day 17

I wrote a poem! A complete poem! It was glorious! Every synapse blazed with rainbows and glitter as I wrote it. Let all those other poems drown in river. This poem. This is the one. Maybe I can do this. Maybe this is the start of something brilliant.

Nevermind. I hate poetry.

Day 18

No, I really can’t write day because I really need to file my taxes.

Day 19

I still need to write several more poems. I have coffee and energy drinks to do this. I have hours until sunrise, and I finished my taxes. I will write seven poems in one sitting. They will not be beautiful, but they will be written. Which poems will be worth saving and
which will build better and greater poems? I think good poetry has some cannibalism in it. I think good poetry has blood.

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Spring has Sprung at the Gell Center!

This blog post was written by Director of Gell Operations, Kathy Pottetti.


“April hath put a spirit of youth in everything. (Sonnet XCVIII)”

― William Shakespeare, Shakespeare’s Sonnets

April showers bring May flowers, or so it is said… this season we’re not so sure just yet, but one thing we are sure of is that April is National Poetry Month! Come celebrate with us at the Gell Center by reading at one of our Open Mics, or by simply taking a stroll and letting the beautiful Finger Lakes region inspire you. But that’s not all we have in store for April–William Shakespeare’s birthday is the 23rd, and the Gell Center is re-opening for the 2016 season this week!

Wow! What a way to kick off the spring season. Take a look at some of our scheduled events below:

Open Mic at the Gell Center /2nd Thursdays/ 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Free and Open to the public – donations welcome!

In recognition of Poetry month, the first event of the season is a Wide Open Mic on
Thursday, April 14th from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. at the Gleason Lodge, with one of our
Instructors, Angie Cannon-Crothers.  Theme: Poetry Month.

May 12th:  Spring is in the air, new beginnings.  Facilitator: Edgar Brown.

June 9th: 35th Anniversary Celebration of Writers & Books, sharing memories of W&B and the Gell Center.  Faciliator:  D.J. Kitzel.

We have a new and interesting selection of classes this spring and summer, one in June,
July and August. Visit for further information.

Creative Thinking and Casting Workshop/ Saturday, June 4th from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Instructor: Scott Grove.

This unique one-day workshop will focus on using personal inspiration to stimulate
creative thinking; to approach an idea from a different perspective, which can reveal a
new vision.  Based on your personal interests, we’ll use a variety of short written and
visual exercises to stimulate and explore variations on a theme.  The morning session
includes idea development, expansion, variations, refinement, distillation, and
capturing the essence of a concept.  Afternoon session we will turn your idea into a
three-dimensional miniature sculpture out of clay, and further develop and explore new
ways to look at an idea.  Then, we’ll make silicone molds and create a cold metal bronze
casting!  Each student will walk away with a cast talisman which will represent a
transformation of personal inspiration and a new way of idea creation.  No writing or art
skills necessary.  Instructor Scott Grove is a high energy, inspirational, and very creative
professional artist and author who maintains a fulltime studio in the Finger Lakes.  Cost:
$150.00 W&B members//$165.00 General Public.   For more info on Scott Grove, please

Interested in being a writer-in-residence at Gell, or considering a unique venue for your
upcoming Board retreat or training session?  Consider the Gell Center, and contact Kathy
Pottetti at or visit for more information about the
Gell Center.

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Spring Catalog offers new workshops in all genres

Writers & Books’ Spring adult workshops and Spring/Summer youth workshops are now open for registration. Both catalogs can be found around Rochester at all Monroe County Library branches, and at various coffee shops, bookstores, and cultural organizations.

The Spring adult catalog features new workshops for adult at all levels (beginner, intermediate, advanced) in the following genres:

Creative Writing – Writing the Personal Travel Essay, Creative Writing 102, Honing You Narrative Craft

Fiction: Workshopping the Short Story, Fiction Writer’s Toolkit, Advanced Fiction Section 1 & 2

Poetry: Intermediate/Advanced Poetry, Existential Poetry: Discovering Ourselves Through Poetry

Stage & Screen: Enter Stage Write – The 10-Minute Play, The Art of the Short Film, Song Lyric Writing

Business of Writing: Writing Articles, Getting Started as a Freelance Writer, Introduction to Grant Writing, Grammar Basics, Submitting to Literary Journals

Online Workshops: Jump-Starting Your Novel, The Art of the Query, Flash Fiction, and Intermediate/Advanced Poetry

Individual Tutorials/Revising & Editing

Workshops held at the Gell Center of the Finger Lakes: Open Mic, a “Nature Writers on Foraging and a Wild Foods Feast!” workshop, and Transcendentalist Live Theater. Contact Kathy pottetti, Director of Operations at the Gell Center at

Spring events also include National Poetry Month, news on our Debut Novel Series, Special events, and reoccurring favorites.

Contact Al Abonado, Director of Adult Programs at with questions or call the Front Desk at 473-2590 ext 107 register.


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RoCo’s 6×6: Join the Fun!

This blog post was written by Writers & Books’ Development Associate, Tate DeCaro.


2016 will be my fourth year in a row participating in Rochester Contemporary Art Center’s (RoCo) 6×6 Exhibit, and the submission date for artworks in close upon us: April 17 (or postmarked by April 16)!


-1If you’re not already familiar, the RoCo 6×6 show is an international small art phenomenon, returning for it’s 9th year. The exhibit is made up of thousands of 6” by 6” artworks, made and donated by celebrities, international & local artists, designers, college students, youths… really anyone that wants to donate! Using the term “artist” liberally, I’m going to call us ALL – that is, everyone in the world – an artist, because if you want to be a part of this exhibit of artworks, you can be!


The exhibit consists of an eclectic mix of styles and mediums that come from the young and old (and everyone in between), from locals to national and international participants, from those who make their living as artists to those who, like me, create only a few pieces a year, if that. Each piece is exhibited anonymously, so you judge them based solely on how they speak to you, not how the name attached to them does. And each artwork is offered for sale to the public for $20 each, to benefit RoCo.



For the past four years I have submitted a few pieces each year, usually something cross-stitched, and I generally end up purchasing… well, more pieces than I made! I have ten 6×6 pieces in my home, ranging from a series of four pastel drawings of a red panda, to a print of a baseball player throwing an actual ball (sawed in half and affixed to the canvas). This year I’m submitting two pieces that are a little bit different – I can’t tell you what they are (that’d be cheating!) but let’s just say they’re going to be eggsciting…


The thing I love about the exhibit is seeing the wide range of artistic talents, and, in particular, uses of materials. I have the great pleasure of also being one of the volunteers who puts up the exhibit, so I get an up close and personal look at a lot of the artworks, and I love to see how people use different mediums like paint or ink on canvas or paper, found objects, clay, thread, etc. etc., to create so many thousands of individual pieces. Last year I brought my entire family to see the show – parents, brother & sister in law, and my two nieces (11 and 12 years old) – and all of us purchased one artwork. It was such fun to walk around as a group and to see what everyone picked. In the end, each of our choices reflected our personalities.



In addition to submitting and purchasing artworks, I have also volunteered to work the Opening Party & Artwork Sale the past two years, which is always a blast. RoCo’s space becomes packed with art enthusiasts all vying for a good lotto number so they can be amongst the first to rush to purchase their artwork of choice!


Here are the details for 6×6:

    • Artwork Entries due: April 17 or postmarked by April 1
    • In-Gallery Preview (no purchasing): May 30 – June 3, 12-9pm
    • Opening Party & Artwork Sale: June 4, 4-10pm


Be sure to note the deadline for submitting art! If you have any questions you can always visit RoCo’s website: I hope to see your artwork on the RoCo walls, and I can’t wait to see you at the opening on June 4th!