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For My Monday Evening Spent with the Queen of Thursday Night TV: “Shonda Rhimes at 92Y"

I haven’t been here since October, last October. Spending an entire year away from this place isn’t typical of my behavior. Most of the time it is all I can do to avoid coming once a month so that I am not flagged as a stalker who does not go anywhere else. But this place is too good to avoid. There is always a reason to come and they just keep getting better and better.
This building at Ninety-Second Street and Lexington Avenue in Manhattan holds the very things I crave the most in life: talks, book signing, intelligent, smart, strong role models, and a place for us all to gather. 92Y as it is known has become a home away from home for me. Each and every time I am here it puts me that much closer to the goals I have set for myself. And each and every time I walk away giddy and wowed. Monday night was no different.

When I was here back in October 2014 it was to sit in the audience as the “Notorious R.B.G” (, as she is commonly known, took to the stage to share her life’s work and journey. To say I had the goose bumps is an understatement. I could not take my eyes off of her. The woman was the second woman to be appointed to the Supreme Court. She is also a fellow graduate of my alma mater, James Madison High School. But that was back in Brooklyn some years ago.

Each of these individual experiences feels like a dream come true that simultaneously transforms my world. Every time I am just as surprised how enlightening ninety minutes can be. It is a gift each time. The more this happens the more I am calm, maintaining my focus to allow a connection between the guest of honor and myself. This was certainly the case this week.
Thanks to my good friends at 92Y I receive early information regarding their programming. Since their events commonly sell out very quickly I knew when I read what would be taking place on November 9th I had to act fast. So that’s what I did and I had tickets as soon as it was physically possible. 

I was already plenty excited to go but as the days got closer the press was too. Shonda was in New York promoting her new book “Year of Yes”. It was also the purpose of her coming to 92Y. Jake Tapper from CNN was pegged to lead the talk with Shonda. They have a shared history as they both attended Dartmouth College in New Hampshire.
The first thing I noticed when she appeared on stage was how nervous she seemed to be. In fact it was one of the first things she said. She mentioned she prefers to being behind the camera. It makes perfect sense but we as the audience forget because we know who she is, however she doesn’t know us. It must have been really be overwhelming to see such a large crowd cheering for her. But as the night worn on she must have felt the love because she loosened up.

Lately I have been on a journey exploring my life in relation to writing finding out the greater deeper reasons why I do what I do. A big part of that is the book I am reading now, “Why We Write”. I am learning that no matter the context or the topic we write about, all writers do it for the same reason, because we feel we have to. We do it just for ourselves despite whether it is our day job.
We have to write and create in order to be happy. I always thought fiction writers were more legitimate than non-fiction writers, mostly because I feel like my blog might not count. I am working on that though. I realize now that I am already a published writer and I have validated my passion for writing as my life’s purpose. 
I know now when I am not happy all I have to do is force myself to sit down and type because even if I don’t feel like it ultimately make me happy. It allows me to find the peace within my soul. It is like opening a pressure valve to release some tension. Without that release I would certainly blow.
It was interesting to hear all about Shonda’s life pre-ABC and also to see that she is still the same woman she always was, creating and writing stories that fed her soul. Her “Year of Yes” was more than just her book title. She is the real deal.

Shonda Rhimes is the latest writer/creator to contribute to my new vision and understating of myself. I had so many ideas just sitting there listening to her. I love how she mentioned the specific music she has to listen to when writing and how her love of red wine and time in Vermont has translated to her characters. I was amazed that she took over a year to think through the pilot season of “Scandal” and then was able to sit down and write the whole thing in four days. That is impressible.
There is so much I could share about that night, so much information swirling around in my brain. The most important thing I took away with me is how determined she was to make sure her life had all of the aspects she wanted for herself. She didn’t want to wake up and realize she wasn’t really living at all. It is that kind of strength that I admire most. To me she has it all.   
Just as I predicted another puzzle piece has found its place within me. All of these experiences have made me appreciate them all the more. While I am a fan of Shonda’s I could see the people who had been waiting to be close to her. The ones she has inspired without even knowing it. I love when people get to live out those moments. I know I a grateful for having more than one.
I greatly look forward to reading “Year of Yes”.  I have added to my list of immediate reads. I am trying to read each book as fast as I can now because my list is juicier than ever before.
Shonda Rhimes is hardly resting on her laurels. Her next (this will be her fourth) series will premiere on ABC in March. It is called “The Catch”. It is about a con man/ investigator. Right now I feel like it sounds like it most closely resembles “Scandal” but I can’t wait to meet those characters and see where that journey takes us. 
Since Shonda has already booked Thursday nights I am guessing this fourth series will be on another day in the week. Once she has two other shows (just a prediction) she will be the creative producer of two full nights of prime time TV. I believe at that point she will have to admit that her childhood dream of taking over the world through television has come true.
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