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ROC Transit Day: A Personal Odyssey

by Christine Green

What a day! I started ROC Transit Day at Collegetown near Strong Hospital and the University of Rochester campus. My friend, Kelly, met me there and our adventure began…

1) Bus 50: My first Rochester bus ride. I felt like such a goof! How have I lived in the Rochester area for 14 years and not ever rode a bus? Well, there I was on my way to the Rochester Public Market via the downtown Transit Center. Of course, the public market is an adventure in and of itself…we sampled mulberries, bought fruit and veggies, purchased a hanging basket of flowers, ate empanadas, and drank carrot juice. We participated in a workshop organized by Foodlink and learned all about how to eat healthy on a budget.

2) Bus 39: Next we chose to catch the number 39 at the corner of Trinidad and Union. Sounds easy, right? Well, we couldn’t find the bus stop sign! A quick and simple call to RTS connected me to an extremely kind and patient representative who directed me to the stop and called the driver so that he could be on the lookout for us. I wasn’t too hard to spot since I was the crazy lady carrying a potted plant and waving my bus pass in the air.

3) Bus31/Transit Center: We met an awesome guy named Louis at the Transit Center. Louis told us all about how to take a bike on the bus, even taking the time to show us how the mechanism works. After we boarded the bus we saw him help a lady with two children and stroller, folding and stowing the awkward gadget while she held her very sleepy toddler in her arms. We also met a kind young lady who let me put my plant on the seat next to her (I think my new nickname is officially Crazy Plant Lady), and I met a kind elderly lady who even rose from her seat to say good-bye when we had reached our stop. Lots of good people. Bus 31 took us to Park and Goodman where we fueled up on bread from Great Harvest Bread and perused Parkleigh.

4) Bus 47: At this point I was officially tired and a *wee* bit cranky from the heat. When our bus arrived I was more than happy to board the clean, air-conditioned, and shaded bus back to the Transit Center.

5) Bus 50: Our last bus ride! This bus took us back to Collegetown where we officially ended our day’s adventures.

I learned a few things about the Roc transit system and about public transportation in general.

I learned that the RTS bus app and the customer service at RTS are top-notch. We had a few hitches here and there, but for the most part we made it everywhere we wanted to go using this app and calling into to RTS. I also realized how very little I know about Rochester, something I want to remedy. Now that summer is really here I hope to spend more time exploring the city and seeing the sites. I learned, too, that three bucks will take you all over the area all day and you don’t have to spend a dime on gas. Pretty sweet deal, if you think about it. Oh, and take it from the Crazy Plant Lady, portulaca plants can take some rough handling on several bus rides.

A few tips for those who want to ride the bus around Rochester (or anywhere, really): Be like Louis. For many people riding the bus with strollers, wheel chairs, groceries, and small kids can be difficult and possibly overwhelming. Lend a hand, give up your seat, offer a smile. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Seriously, EVERYONE we interacted with today when we needed directions or help were more than willing to offer advice and assistance. Finally, plan ahead. Sure you can use your smart phone or the trip planner screen at the Transit Station, but if you are able to plan out your route and stops before you leave you’ll definitely save time.

Thanks to RTS, Writers & Books, and the Rochester Brainery for asking me to help out today!

Christine Green is a writer and personal assistant in NY. She has been published in Story Bleed, Genesee Valley Parent, aaduna, the Democrat and Chronicle, the American Cancer Society’s Choose You Blog, Healthy Urban Kitchen, Germ Magazine, The Light Ekphrastic, & Naptime Notebook, and Mused Literary Review. She has essays in the anthologies Mother Muse and Motherly Musings. She hosts Words on the Verge, a monthly literary reading and salon in Brockport, NY.

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Classes & Workshops Starting in March

Enrollment for March workshops is now openvintage-library-poster-1395138516pT3!

Spring is so close we can almost taste it! Though it’s still a bit frigid out, we are daydreaming of strolling through NOTA in shorts and relaxing beachside with our Debut Author Boris Fishman’s novel A Replacement Life. Join us at W&B where it’s nice and warm–and where writing and reading can transport you somewhere with less slush and more sun!

Let’s look at what’s coming up this month at Writers & Books:

The Lost Weekend – Instructor: Jacob Rakovan
Start Date – March 3rd Time – 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
This one-off class will explore the literature of drinking and excess, and attempt to determine if “malt does more than Milton can/To justify God’s ways to man.” The class will be held at Writers & Books. Whiskey tasting at The Daily Refresher included.

Writing from Trauma and Getting Published – Instructor: Nguyen Phan Que Mai 
Start Date – March 5th Time – 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Through an in-class exercises, as well as a discussion of your poem, story, or nonfiction piece, we will explore the core essentials of writing  clear, meaningful, and internationally engaged work.  The workshop will also deal with the special demands that face those of us who have survived trauma and have gone on to write about it.  Finally, we will use the last part of the workshop to discuss and highlight, through illustration of our process, the art of translation with regard to Vietnamese and American poetry.

Finding Your Voice: A Special Workshop on Identity – Instructor: Nguyen Phan Que Mai 
Start Date – March 5th Time – 4:00 PM – 6:30 PM
Internationally recognized poet Nguyen Phan Que Mai will lead a workshop that will explore the ways writing can help us clarify who we are, help us to transform past experiences into literary works by practicing writing skills that will produce poems, essays, or stories. The workshop is particularly for those under the age of 40 interested in exploring how they can use writing to understand their experiences.

Winter 2015 Catalog coverFinding Your Poetic Voice: A Poetry Workshop – Instructor: Donna Marbach 
Start Date – March 5th Time – 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Do you paint beautiful images with your words? Create mesmerizing soundscapes?  Write with a passion to change the world? Or do you try to make people laugh?  There are many ways to express yourself through poetry, and no single ‘right’ one among them. This workshop will provide an open setting for writing and discussing poetry with the intent of helping you find your own “voice.”

Red Sugar: Feminism in Poetry – Instructor: Rachel McKibbens
Start Date – March 9th Time – 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Students will examine the work of Jan Beatty, Lucille Clifton, Sandra Cisneros, and others from a feminist perspective. Generative writing exercises will follow. Come see why their voices are still so vital.

Poetic Dramaturgy – Instructor: Jacob Rakovan
Start Date – March 9th Time – 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
This class will read deeply in poetic drama, from Euripides to the poem-plays of Yeats, Beckett, and others. We will explore ways in which poetry and plays inform each other with exercises in the form.

2000 Word Club – Instructor:  Len Messino
Start Date – March 9th Time – 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
The purpose of the 2000 Word Club is to offer class members an opportunity to explore the various creative writing genres—fiction, memoir, creative essay, experimental forms, and even chapters of larger works—to find the form most amenable to their experience and imagination. The only requirement: manuscripts must be under 2000 words.

How to Read & Enjoy Poetry for Non-Poetry Readers – Instructor:  Donna Marbach
Start Date – March 10th Time – 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Are you a voracious reader who avoids poetry books like the plague?  Do you have a loved one or friend that is totally “into poetry” and you just don’t “get it”? Do you think poetry is boring? Undecipherable? Irrelevant? Or does poetry make you feel stupid or uncomfortable? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may want to consider this class.

download (3)There’s a Book Inside You. Let’s Get It Out! – Instructor: Lois Taubman
Start Date – March 14th Time – 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
This workshop will explore the practical and not so practical reasons why people don’t write the books they want to write.

It’s Tea Time: Bringing Together Your Sense of Taste and Writing – Instructor: Kitty Jospe
Start Date – March 14th Time – 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Start your morning with writing that explore your sense of taste. Tea has a long storied literary history. See what you can brew as Kitty Jospe leads you through writing exercises that will engage your imagination as much the tea engages your taste buds. Tea will be provided by Tea Witch Tea!

Self-Publishing eBooks & Paperbacks – Instructor: Joy Argento
Start Date – March 17th Time – 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Join Joy Argento, who will teach you how to navigate the tricky world of Print-on-Demand paperbacks and eBook publishing!


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Classes & Workshops Starting in February!

Enrollment for February workshops is now opendownload!

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, perhaps it’s time to rekindle a love for writing and reading–or nurture a love that isn’t going anywhere!

Let’s look at what’s coming up this month at Writers & Books:

*Online: Where Writing and Motherhood Meet – Instructor: Sally Bittner Bonn
Start Date – February 1st
Motherhood can be joyful, lonely, hysterically funny, maddening, heartbreaking, beautiful, and of course exhausting! Join other moms from near and far as you share your stories of motherhood. This supportive online forum will allow busy mothers to fit their writing time into their week at any hour of day or night!

Stand-Up Comedy – Instructor: Carol Roberts
Start Date – February 3rd Time – 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Stand-up comedy is the art of writing jokes blended with the art of performing them. In this 6-week supportive experiential workshop, students will learn the basics of comedy writing and performing. Students will develop original material outside of class and perform each week for one another in a supportive atmosphere.

Reading Seminar: Langston Hughes – Instructor: David Sanders
Start Date – February 3rd Time – 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
This short seminar will offer a representative sampling of Hughes’s verse, and participants will be encouraged to propose their own favorites for discussion. No prior knowledge of Hughes or special expertise in reading poems is required.

Intermediate/Advanced Fiction Workshop – Instructor: Matt Kotula
Start Date – February 5th Time – 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
A fiction workshop designed for writers looking to push their short, flash, or long form fiction to the next level.

Your Wild and Precious Life – Instructor: Marijana Ababovic
Start Date – February 7th Time – 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM
This yoga and personal writing workshop will help you explore your personal goals and create a plan for the new year.  The workshop includes guided personal writing, gentle yoga, and meditation, cWinter 2015 Catalog coverreating an environment of quietness to help you focus on what is really important to you.

Beginning PoetryInstructor: Charles Cote
Start Date – February 9th Time – 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
In this Poetry Workshop and Readshop, students will read a number of contemporary poems, work on writing and revising their own poetry, and explore and discuss essays by renowned poets on the  “what” and “how” of poetry—image, metaphor, sound, rhythm—so that they might become more comfortable with the reading and writing of poetry. This class is geared to those who have not written much poetry, or are now eager to return to writing poetry after some time away from writing.

Reading Seminar: The Age of Miracles – Instructor: Karen vanMeenen
Start Date – February 10th Time – 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM
Join “If All Rochester Reads the Same Book…” coordinator and RIT instructor Karen vanMeenen for a 3-week in-depth discussion of this year’s program selection The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker in advance of her visit to Rochester.

Writing from (and with) Photographs – Instructor: Louise Wareham Leonard
Start Date – February 14th Time – 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
In this 2-day workshop we will explore using photographs in our writing, with readings about this technique by W.G. Sebald, Susan Sontag, and James Woods, among others. We will consider the power of the photograph and how it is thought of in other cultures. A brief field trip will depend on time and weather.

It’s Valentine’s Day: Do You Feel Like Being Easy? Comedy Improve Workshop – Instructor: Carol Roberts
Start Date – February 14th Time – 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Do you love to do comedy improv? Or would you love to try comedy improv? What better day than Valentine’s Day to treat yourself to this easy workshop where we play easy comedy improv games.  Comedy improv games, like those seen on the TV show “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” are the art of getting suggestions from the audience and spontaneously plugging them into pre-existing skits and games.

Writing the Feature…How Would Billy Wilder Do It? Instructor: Johannes Bockwoldt
Start Date – February 19th Time – 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
The goal of this class is a better understanding of dramatic and screenplay structure and the completion of a first act of a feature screenplay. The work of the American director Billy Wilder will be used as a model for sound classic story structure. Wilder immigrated to the US from Berlin in the 1930s and who had a long and productive career spanning six decades, excelled at comedy and drama alike, and his scripts are enduring examples of the craft of storytelling.

Write Your 10-mifilepicker-DxTtiQ82QpCEfRuyNLpz_Pennute Play – Instructor: Paula Marchese
Start Date – February 21st Time – 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Explore and experiment with this short dramatic form.  From Chekov to Mamet, the one-act (short and longer) remains a challenging and powerful way to tell a story. Learn dramatic structure, internal/external conflict, and the 3-act structure employed in all good stories, packed into an intense time and space.

Writing & Revising for Clarity – Instructor: Arseniy Gutnik
Start Date – February 21th Time – 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Do you want to communicate your thoughts effectively in writing?  This workshop is designed to help you practice defining your ideas organizing content, and making productive revisions, by examining writing as a process with distinct, manageable components.  We will begin with brainstorming and proceed to rough draft writing and revision, introducing useful techniques for each step through mini-lessons, followed by writing time and discussion.

Beginning Story Writing – Instructor: Steve Huff
Start Date – February 24th Time – 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
You’ve always wanted to write fiction but have not known where to begin. This class will examine the basic principles and techniques of fiction that everyone new to fiction writing needs to know: point-of-view, dialogue, plotting, and character development.

Writing the Short Screenplay – Instructor: Johannes Bockwoldt
Start Date – February 24th Time – 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Writing the Short Screenplay is for those who always wanted to turn their ideas into a short film screenplay and for those who want to learn about the basics of screenwriting. At the end of the class you will have written a complete screenplay for a 10-15 minute film and you will have been thoroughly introduced to the fundamentals of screenwriting.

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Debut Novel Series: Mira Jacobs

Writers & Books is thrilled to host Mira Jacob as the first author in our new Debut Novel Series. She will be in Rochester November 13 – 15, 2014


  • Writers’ Master ClassNovember 15 – 10:00 AM to Noon – Writers & Books classroom $35 W&B members; $40 non-members. Reservation required.

For complete event information, to register or purchase tickets, visit or call 585-473-2590, x107.


About Mira Jacob

Mira Jacob

Mira Jacob is the founder of Pete’s Reading Series in New York City and has an MFA from the New School for Social Research. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and son. THE SLEEPWALKER’S GUIDE TO DANCING is her first novel.


The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing

A Novel

Mira Jacob


Acquired by Random House in a highly competitive auction and with foreign rights sold in nine territories, Mira Jacob’s debut novel THE SLEEPWALKER’S GUIDE TO DANCING (Random House; On Sale July 1) is already being called “refreshing,” “vivid,” “comic,” and “well-crafted” by early reviewers.

Spanning India in the 1970s to New Mexico in the 1980s and Seattle in the 1990s, the sweeping novel follows the witty, eccentric and loving Eapen family as they wrestle with their future and their past.

When brain surgeon Thomas Eapen decides to cut short a visit to his mother’s home in India in 1979, he sets into motion a series of events that will forever haunt him and his wife Kamala, their intellectually precocious son Akhil, and their watchful daughter, Amina. Now, twenty years later, in the heat of a New Mexican summer, Thomas has begun having bizarre conversations with his dead relatives and it’s up to Amina—a photographer in the midst of her own career crisis–to figure out what is really going on. But getting to the truth is far harder than it seems. From Thomas’s unwillingness to talk, to Kamala’s Born Again convictions, to run-ins with a hospital staff that seems to know much more than they let on, Amina finds herself at the center of a mystery so thick with disasters that to make any headway at all, she has to unravel the family’s painful past.


Praise for The Sleepwalkers Guide to Dancing

“Jacob’s darkly comic debut—about a photographer’s visit to her parents’ New Mexico home during a family crisis—is grounded in the specifics of the middle-class Indian immigrant experience while uncovering the universality of family dysfunction and endurance. …”

Kirkus Review

“Jacob’s writing is refreshing, and she excels at creating a powerful bond between the reader and her characters, all wonderfully drawn and with idiosyncratic natures—the mother, Kamala, for instance, is a born-again Christian—that make them enchanting. Recommended for those who like engaging fiction that succeeds in addressing serious issues with some humor.”

Library Journal


[An] emotionally bountiful debut . . . The author has a wonderful flair for recreating the messy sprawl of family life, with all its joy, sadness, frustration, and anger.”

Publishers Weekly


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In Memoriam: Galway Kinnell

Today we would like to take a moment to remember the poet Galway Kinnell (February 1, 1927 – October 28, 2014), who recently passed away in Sheffield, VT, a singular voice in American poetry whose work is as uncompromising as it is perceptive. Galway was a vigorous social activist, working as a field worker for the Congress for Racial Equality, spending much of that time working on voter registration and workplace integration.

Galway Kinnell was born in Providence, Rhode Island. He graduated from Princeton University and received his Masters of Arts from the University of Rochester. From 1989 to 1993, he served as the poet laureate of Vermont. He is the author of more than a dozen books, including his Selected Poems which received the Pulitzer Prize as well as sharing the National Book Award with Charles Wright. The democratic spirit of his writing often invoked comparisons to Walt Whitman, whose writing never seemed to be far from the heart of Kinnell’s work.

Below is a sample of his work that can be found at the Poets Walk, an interactive sidewalk that borders the Centennial Sculpture Park at the Memorial Art Gallery. It is a section from the poem Under the Maud Moon. If you have a chance, take a moment to visit the walk and listen to a reading of his poem:

A round-
cheeked girlchild comes awake
in her crib. The green
swaddlings tear open,
a filament or vestment
tears, the blue flower opens.

And she who is born,
she who sings and cries,
she who begins the passage, her hair
sprouting out,
her gums budding for her first spring on earth,
the mist still clinging about
her face, puts
her hand into her father’s mouth, to take hold of
his song.

You can find more about Galway Kinnell here.