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    San Ramon
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    Poetry, Musical Theatre, Golden State Warriors, Stanford Volleyball, International Travel and Docupoem writing, disco dancing, music by the decades.

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  • About Me
    I serve as the Poet Laureate of San Ramon and have been a professional athlete, coach, and teacher. Born in Alabama as an Air Force brat, I've lived in the San Francisco Bay Area since college. I hope to create interest in my memoir about a young woman who, due to the passage of Title IX in 1978, earns a volleyball scholarship to Stanford University and hopes to succeed in pre-medical studies so that she can cure her mother's mysterious illness. Being told this is an historical memoir shocked me so that I had to open a fabulous bottle of California Pinot Noir.
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  2. Story Statement A Stanford student-athlete tries to balance life as a volleyball scholarship star with life as a pre-medical student intending to save her terminally ill mother. Antagonistic Forces J.J. faces several antagonists in this story. Temporary antagonists include her high school ex-boyfriend Stephen, who wants J.J. to go to U. C. Davis with him so that they can marry in a few years. Privileged blonde-haired, blue-eyed Christine questions J.J.'s muscular body, sexuality, haircut, and playing style for much of the first season, forcing newbie J.J. to shut up and put up. The highly-ranked UOP team taunts lowly Stanford by wearing grapefruits under their game uniforms during warm-ups, which establishes a heated rivalry for years. J.J.'s own Mama Jo turns against her during her first summer home from college. Mama Jo's elusive auto-immune issues are a constant force in J.J.'s story, and provide many frustrating situations for both mother and daughter. During her sophomore season, new assistant coach Don thinks J.J. is overrated and benches her after she is hit by a car on her bike. J.J.'s post-concussion syndrome returns, and her body suffers from other accidental injuries, forcing her to lie about the extent of her pain in order to retain her scholarship and keep playing. J.J. observes the male docs at Stanford Hospital as they harass the female doctors during her summer internship. She begins to question whether the costs of being a female doctor outweigh the possible, not certain, benefit of curing her mother. The glamorous UCLA team defeats Stanford in the first Women's NCAA Volleyball tournament in 1981, her junior season. This loss provides a catalyst that will energize J.J.'s recovery from a potential career-ending back injury during that match in the hopes of a rematch with UCLA her senior year, 1982. J.J. is told she needs to have career-ending back surgery by a Stanford surgeon whose behavior raises J.J.'s suspicions about his motives: is she being used as a lab rat? Breakout Titles Chasing Kairos Holding Court: Title IX Playing Time Rally On: Finding New Dreams When First Dreams Fail Comparables Pat Conroy's My Losing Season (2002) was one inspiration for this book. He looks back on his senior season as the point guard for the Citadel's men's basketball team and uses basketball as a frame for interrogating family, friends, and the bonds forged between men coming of age in a military academy. Conroy's memoir provides a realistic view of college athletics, since most teams fail to win championships. My book has a similar Bildungsroman, strong team bonding, and cultural commentary, but includes a positive parent-child relationship and covers the transition years from a losing team to a winning legacy that continues today. Instead of a father-son conflict that results in disappointment, my secondary story of a mother's daily struggle to conquer her body's decay results in a fierce attachment between a mother and a daughter. Perdita Felicien's My Mother's Daughter (2021) is similar in plot to my story: a young woman begins to discover her athletic gifts and is edged onward by her mother's love, grit, and faith. When Perdita stumbles while pursuing Olympic dreams, her mother picks her up, illustrating the power of a parent's love to transform her child's life. My book differs in that it occurs twenty years earlier, includes gendered power struggles without the systemic obstacles of race, and centers around the illness of a beloved mother who might not live long enough for her daughter to save her. Logline Chasing Kairos is the heroine's journey of J.J., a tomboy who yearns to earn a volleyball scholarship so that she can study pre-medicine and cure her mother's life-threatening illness. Conflicts - triggers and reactions Primary conflict/wound: Once J.J. earns a C+ on her first College Chemistry exam, she is gripped with fear that she will fail to save her mother. Her affinity for math disappears as she struggles to remember Calculus and Chemistry formulas and test anxiety makes her performance worse. The headaches from a serious concussion at sixteen return, along with nightmares of her mother's funeral. Secondary conflict: J.J. wonders about her playing time until she sees the new assistant coach laughing with Christine as she emerges topless from the jacuzzi on a road trip. J.J. hears about players sleeping with coaches at other schools, but has a hard time believing what appears to be sex for court time. She becomes overwhelmed as her bad grades and inconsistent play coincide with her mother's hospitalization. Social/team conflict: When junior Christine deliberately hits the new player Kari in the face with the volleyball, J.J. struggles between protecting Kari, who's competing for J.J.'s starting position, or ignoring the hazing in favor of her own playing time. She and the other younger players vow to be welcoming when they are in the upper classes. They establish a separate, collective culture through dancing to the New Wave and Punk music that irritates the older players. Love conflict: J.J. cannot let go of her unrequited love for the pre-med boy she met at ORGY, once he disappears after a few successful dates. Identity conflict: The narrator's dual identity as J.J., the extroverted prank-loving jock who uses humor to hide her pain, and Jenyth, the solitary lover of learning who agonizes when she can't remember the ninth line of a sonnet. Settings The story contrasts the palm-treed country club ambience of 1980's Stanford University in sunny Palo Alto, CA, with hostile and famous gyms throughout California, Hawaii, and Alabama. Many volleyball players live in Kairos, a popular coed housing co-operative on the envied avenue of historical fraternity row houses. With an open kitchen and a reputation for wildly inventive parties on its sundecks and midnight basketball games with neighboring fraternities on its basketball court, Kairos is also the favored housing of several Structured Liberal Education (SLE) students. They are the adored intellectuals of the campus. Manzanita Trailer Park, the cheapest and dingiest living arrangement on campus, is on the opposite side of Stanford and houses another group of SLE students. UGLY Undergraduate Library's occult section on the third floor and Green Graduate Library's basement stacks provide spaces for study and stress-reducing pranks. Matches and practices are held at Maples Pavilion, and the lovely old Roble Gym is the site of the Viennese Ball. Memorial Church, survivor of the 1906 earthquake and centerpiece of the original Quad, welcomes the supplicant's pleas. Antonio's Nut House provides Tuesday happy hours for the Stegner Fellows and undergraduate writers. The mausoleum of Leland Stanford, Jr., is the site of strange initiation rites, but is not the site of ORGY, a location that remains a secret today.
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