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Memoir is not an autobiography by Renee Schuls-Jacobson

People who love to write generally have strong emotional associations with certain words. For example, I love the word “emphatic.” It reminds me of the way my father’s fist sounded against his big wood desk the night I argued about staying up past my 11PM curfew. And the word “corduroy”? It reminds me of a kid I used to know who had a chronic case of impetigo. (He wore corduroy pants to cover his oozing sores.)
I guess it’s fair to say that words have never been just words for me. Each word has meaning far beyond a dictionary definition. Each word is a magic trick, made up of letters connected to our most powerful memories.
One of the questions I’m often asked is what is the difference between an autobiography and a memoir. A memoir is not an autobiography: an autobiography spans one’s entire life, and a memoir focuses on one particular moment or series of moments around a theme. In a memoir, you want readers to walk away knowing you, and that one experience, on a much deeper level.
Over the years, I’ve developed a highly introspective and intense method, which helps writers see where exactly their story starts and stops. I can’t wait to share my experience with beginning and intermediate writers again this semester.


An former educator with over twenty years of classroom experience, she has taught at Brighton High School and, more recently, at Monroe Community College. A published author, poet, and storyteller, Renée has a blog at A professional artist, Renée also provides art instruction. You can see her work on her Facebook page – RASJACOBSON ORIGINALS – and at

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W&B and RIT/NTID present author Harry Lang

W&B and RIT/NTID present author Harry Lang

Harry Lang author of Fighting in the Shadows: Untold Stories of Deaf People in the Civil War at Rochester Academy of Medicine this September


Rochester NY: Writers & Books, in conjunction with Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) and the Theater Development Fund, presents “An Evening with Harry Lang”, author of Fighting in the Shadows: Untold Stories of Deaf People in the Civil War on Thursday, September 7 at 7:00 pm at the Rochester Academy of Medicine (1441 East Ave, Rochester, NY 14610). A Q & A and book signing will follow. The event is $5 and tickets can be bought in advance over the phone at 585.473.2590 ext 107 or online at This event will be ASL interpreted.


Fighting in the Shadows: Untold Stories of Deaf People in the Civil War shares the stories of deaf soldiers, nurses, food suppliers, journalists, and artists involved in the Civil War. The book also details the discrimination deaf soldiers and civilians faced during their involvement in the war effort.


Lang has written numerous books about deaf history and culture, including a dictionary of influential deaf artists and scientists.


“The American Civil War has been viewed through countless lenses over the last 150-plus years. Lang’s view, through the diverse experiences of deaf men and women who lived it, is a revelation. The individual stories of those on both sides of the conflict, who stepped out of the acoustic shadows to stand up for their beliefs, inspire and raise awareness of the contributions of deaf people in our society.”


—Ronald S. Coddington, editor and publisher of Military Images magazine and co-author of Faces of the Civil War Navies: An Album of Union and Confederate Sailors

 More event info can be found here


More about Harry Lang: Dr. Harry Lang attended the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf, earned a BS in Physics from Bethany College, a MS degree in Electrical Engineering from Rochester Institute of Technology, and his doctorate in Education from the University of Rochester. Lang has taught at RIT/NTID since 1969, first in the Physics Department, and later as a faculty member in the Master of Science Program in Secondary Education of Students Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing.




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Gell Summer Intensive

Excellent.  Instructors were well prepared and attentive.  Student participation and level of writing excellent as well.

Participant – Fiction Intensive| July 2017 | Ralph Uttaro.

Excellent & inspiring.  Useful criticism, re-affirmed my enthusiasm for the craft. 

Participant – Fiction Intensive | July 2017 | Jim Byrne

As an attendee of the first “Mother Wolf”  1 Day Writing Retreat, I can only say that it was a wonderful experience.  I loved both the gorgeous retreat site, and entire program.  It was all fabulous!

Participant | May 2017 | Lisa Thompson.

We always have a great time in this space!  The porch and the beautiful landscape are the biggest reasons we have returned for our fourth year.  Thanks for making this available to members at a reasonable cost. It is truly a gem! 

Artisan Women | May 2017 | Tracy Austin.

Rochester Veterans Writing Group held a half day writing retreat at Gell: A Finger Lakes Creative Retreat – This lodge provided a welcome respite for our group from the normal routine our writing workshops by listening to our guest speaker, Jen Case as an outside voice, engaging with one another, and gazing out on the radiant beauty of the surrounding hills.  In Hemingway’s words ” this clean, well-lighted place” was ideal, and met all of our needs. Many thanks for maintaining such a gem in the midst of the Finger Lakes Region!

Rochester Veterans Writing Group | June 2017 | Tim Hansen, Co-Founder.                    

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Blogging connects you to an online audience by Jane Sutter

I got hooked on blogging in 2009 when I became Deputy Editorial Page Editor for the Democrat and Chronicle. In addition to writing editorials and columns for the print newspaper, I shared my thoughts and opinions on a variety of topics through the Editorial Board’s blog.

I grew to love the immediacy of posting a few hundred words and watching the comments come in from readers. We had some lively discussions. Today I write two blogs, and I love it when they resonate with my readers.

But I want to back up here and explain what is a blog, because I still find people who don’t know.  

The word “blog” came about as a mash-up of the words web and log. Basically, a blog can be considered a type of online diary or journal. And by diary, I mean a form of documentation that has frequent updates, just as if you were writing in a paper diary. The difference, of course, is that usually a paper diary is meant for your eyes only where a blog is meant to be shared in what’s often called the “blogosphere.”  

One of my favorite quotes about blogging is this:

“Just because you write on a blog platform, you are not a blogger. A blogger is someone who wants to record their thoughts and experiences in an open format that others might read and enjoy (or even learn from). … Bloggers want, invite, hope for two-way conversations to occur about what they write about. Writers just want people to read what they wrote.”

–Micah Baldwin,

I have a passion for introducing people to blogging, and that’s why I’ve enjoyed teaching Blogging 101 at Writers & Books for the past two years. Blogging is a fantastic way to share your thoughts, experiences and even expertise. I’ve had students who now blog about travel, food, gardening, spirituality, politics, humorous takes on life, and more. There’s no shortage of topics, and technology makes it so easy to launch a blog.

Please come join me in the blogosphere. You won’t regret it.

Read more about Jane’s Blogging 101 workshop on July 18 here:


Jane Sutter is an award-winning journalist with more than 30 years of experience in writing, editing, blogging and managing at newspapers, magazines and web sites. She earned master’s and bachelor’s degrees from the University of Missouri Journalism School. She spent 13 years in top leadership roles at the Democrat and Chronicle in Rochester, including as managing editor and deputy editorial page editor. Her career includes stints as a reporter or editor in Iowa, Illinois, South Carolina and Florida. Her business, Sutter Communications, provides a variety of services, including writing, editing, public relations and book publishing. Jane’s book, Sutter’s Sodas Satisfy: A Memoir of 90 Years of Sutter Drug Co., was published in 2015. Jane writes two blogs: and Follow her on Twitter: @janesutter.

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Writers & Books Announces 2017 Rochester Fringe Festival Lineup

Writers & Books is proud to be a venue for the 2017 KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival (September 14 – 23). Writers & Books will host a collection of performances ranging in genres from comedy, music, multidisciplinary, theatre, and spoken word. All shows will take place upstairs on the second floor in the Performance Space. Writers & Books will also have a bar set up in the bookstore area for festival goers to purchase beverages before seeing a show.

This year’s line-up:


Home of The Brave: Presented by Theater Apparatus – September 16 at 4pm, September 19 at 7pm, September 23 at 10pm

David Jacobs Presents: “Halfway Home” : Part Larry David, part Garrison Keillor – September 16 at 6pm, September 21 at 9pm, September 23 at 8pm

The Geriactors Present!: Local, mature acting troupe under the direction of Jean Gordon Ryan – September 17 at 1pm, September 20 at 2pm, September 21 at 2pm

The 24 Hour Plays: Writers & Books produced, returning for it’s 5th year – September 18 at 7pm and 9pm


Spoken Word

Listen To Your Mother, Rochester: Mama Said: Two performances only! September 14 at 7pm, September 16 at 2pm

A Rose for the Baby: More Supernatural Tales from Irish- and Scottish-American tradition in Western New York: September 14 at 9pm

The Shapeshifters Are Out! More Supernatural Tales from Native American tradition in Western New York: September 15 at 10:00pm

Lost Love: Tales of Tragic Romance: Rochester Storyteller Alan Irvine – September 17 at 3pm

The Time I Didn’t Go to Ireland: Bill Benet tells true stories of things that never happened – September 17 at 5pm

Heart and Soul: Medicine and Life: Local clinicians share the challenges & joys of clinical practice – September 23 at 12pm

Stories and Songs to Rock the Soul: Rochester’s own Elizabeth Osta returns to Fringe – September 23 at 4pm



Left For Dead Improv:  Rochester improve group of performers age 50 and above – September 15 at 8pm, September 17 at 6:30pm

The Eulogy: A Rochester Fringe sell-out success last year returns for four performances! – September 16 at 8pm, September 20 at 7pm, September 22 at 6pm, September 23 at 2pm

Mo-to-the-oncle: Best Actress 2017 Pittsburgh Fringe – September 19 at 9pm, September 20 at 9pm, September 22 at 8pm, September 23 at 6pm



Dead Metaphor Cabaret: “Epic & melancholy and utterly charming” – Frank de Blasé – September 21 at 7pm



Cars and Their Lovers: a multi-media show about classic cars performed by father/daughter team Joe Flaherty & Caedra Scott-Flaherty – September 16 at 10am, September 17 at 11am

GOLEM BEMSHI: A combination of libretto, music, soundscape, and poetry – September 22 at 10pm



Rochester Fringe Festival: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram

Writers & Books: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram

Hashtag for Rochester Fringe Festival – #ROCFringe17

Hashtag for Writers & Books Fringe – #WABFringe17


For performer contact information or to set up interviews with shows, contact Chris Fanning at or by phone at 585.473.2590 ext 105.