Hidden inside the New York State Budget, which was passed yesterday in Albany, is a line item containing $ 8 million dollars for Writers & Books. The appropriation was stewarded through the complex budget process with the help of the Rochester area delegation.
In announcing the appropriation in a press release dated April 1, State Sen. Joseph Robach is quoted as saying, “I know of no other cultural organization not only in the Rochester area, but throughout all of New York State, that is as creative and hard-working as Writers & Books. If all organizations were to study and emulate what they are accomplishing there on University Avenue, we would go down in history as one of the most creative societies in the history of mankind! My hat goes off to them and we can only hope that this small appropriation can help them reach out to even more people.”
Writers & Books Executive Director, Joe Flaherty, reacted to the announcement in this way. “We were completely flabbergasted, not to mention flummoxed, when the news was transmitted to us. The first staffers to read the e-mail cried out, “Holy Smokes!” and then fainted. The rest of us were so busy attempting to resuscitate him, and checking to see if there was, in fact, a fire in the building, that it was a full fifteen minutes or more before another staffer had the opportunity to take a look at the e-mail that had caused the fainting incident. Their exclamation was equally exuberant but is not something I would want to repeat at this time of great joy.
I can only say, myself, that we are over-the-moon with delirious delight, and invite all of our local elected representatives to come and take a free writing workshop from us. It could be a life changer for them.