Time Travel

“One cannot choose but wonder. You see, he has all the time in the world.” The Time Machine.

“That first self, that true self is a real, mensurate, quantifiable thing; tangible and incarnate.” Altered States

I have always been fascinated with the concept of Time Travel ever since I watched Rod Taylor return to Weena after fighting off the Morlocks. I have seen almost all the movies. Most of the stories, are about what we learn about ourselves going backward or forward because the actual concept is mind-boggling. I can only follow the traditional reasonings just so far with all their paradoxes……The paradoxes, ay, there’s the rub. As Captain Janeway in Star Trek: Voyager says, ” I hate discussing temporal anomalies. It makes my head hurt”. I agree.

I read Paul J.Nahin’s book “Time Machines”… Fascinating but DENSE. I keep it on my shelf for reference but it’s not one I can curl up with for very long.

I think the concept of Time as a circle resonates best with me. I like its simplicity. It always calls to mind the last few lines of The Incredible Shrinking Man that I watched as a kid. Not a Time Travel movie per se but as he continues to shrink with NO end in sight he says that he realizes that the Infinite and the Infinitesimal are actually the same thing. “The unbelievably small and the unbelievably vast eventually meet, like the closing of a gigantic circle.”

This seems like as good an explanation of Time Travel ( among other things) as anything to me.

 As far as time travel in ancient civilizations, I think it is entirely possible, if not plausible, that they attempted it. But I can only relate to it through my circle theory.

 I think it ties in with alternate realities and altered states of consciousness, rather than scientific technology, since advanced science was practically non-existent back then (Von Daniken’s theories notwithstanding.)

 In ancient cultures , the search for the meaning of life was sought internally. Hindu fakirs, Mexican brujos, Native American shamans et al, all sought the connection to life and creation through these alternate or “non-ordinary” realities. This was how they accrued the same knowledge and theories that Einstein and Hawking marveled at. 

They entered the circle through “inner space”. As science progressed and we reached out to the stars, we now attempt to enter the circle through “outer space”; black holes, temporal rifts etc.

But physicists are also studying “inner space” by searching for ever-smaller particles progressing from grains of sand to atoms to electrons to protons, to neutrons, to quarks, to strings and so on, … smaller and smaller and smaller.

I think if time travel IS possible it will be achieved by closing the inner and outer circle and I think, perhaps, the ancient civilizations may have already achieved that by creating altered states of consciousness, some starting with drugs ( peyote and jimson weed ) like Carlos Castaneda and progressing to self-altering motivation like many devout religious practitioners  not needing the drugs at all to “let go”.

Somehow, I don’t see time travel being achieved through creating our beloved “time machines” but rather a better understanding of self………. If we can survive that long.  

                                                                                                                John Timmons

EVEN STRANGER THINGS

                                                                                                                                           Photo by Richard-Alan Montemuro

EVEN STRANGER THINGS

My Halloween encounter with the “werewolf” under the railroad bridge was strange. But it wasn’t the STRANGEST thing that ever happened to me ……………..THIS was……

I was in my early 20s and I was living back in Philly on Clearfield St again, with my folks, after a few years of living in Bucks County, and working at the Bucks County Playhouse.

I came home at about 6:30 PM. Mom, Dad, and Gran were sitting and watching TV. I was very tired. I had been on-set since about 6 AM            working on some TV commercial or industrial film. 

I told my mom that I was going to lie down for a while but I didn’t want to go to bed for the rest of the night, so please wake me after a couple of hours.

I don’t know why I assumed my mom would do that. To this day she can’t bring herself to wake me up even if I’m just dozing in a chair. I guess it’s a mom thing. Her baby always needs his rest, no matter where or when. And I guess it didn’t help that I put her through some hair-raising moments when I was little trying to get me to go to bed peacefully minus the “weeping and gnashing of teeth” I STILL hate going to bed but again, as Lou Jacobi says in Irma la Douce, “That’s another story.”

Anyway, my mom let me sleep. When I awoke around 1 AM the house was dark and quiet. Everyone was asleep. 

I can remember that I was very hungry and wanted to go downstairs and make a sandwich and find a late-night movie but what I remember MOST is that I had just awakened from a GREAT dream that left me feeling  positively EUPHORIC…no exaggeration…..so HAPPY..SO CONTENT (except for being hungry)…..I FELT FABULOUS!!

 As I “floated” downstairs to feed myself, I was careful not to wake up too much. I remember keeping my eyes half shut so when I turned on the kitchen light and then opened the refrigerator I wouldn’t lose the dream and that incredible feeling that I had..

As I started to make a sandwich I decided that I MUST write this dream down before it all fades away.

So, I went over to the telephone, hanging on the kitchen wall. Under it was a small standing cabinet with a Formica top and I retrieved a slip of paper from a stack that was always sitting there, along with a pen, to write down messages. It was also used as a “catch-all” spot for wallets and keys, at least for my dad and me.

 I wrote down the dream, folded the paper and slipped it into my wallet for safekeeping. Then…I completely forgot about it.

                                                                                                                           CUT TO

ABOUT 2 MONTHS LATER.

I was going through my wallet; looking for something, when I came across the slip of paper.

For a couple of seconds, I thought, “What the heck is this?” Then I remembered that this was the dream I had written down. All I remembered about it was that it was a “great” dream. I still remembered the feeling it had given me but I hadn’t given it a second thought since I put the paper in my wallet.

Now, as we all know, most dreams when recalled and recounted prove to be a combination of straightforward story-telling and bizarre nonsensical goofiness.

I was expecting to see a brief outline of a happy dream about some lovely woman that I have been thinking about finally falling in love with me and then me accepting an Oscar and then suddenly sitting with all my friends in front of a dozen large pizzas. You know. A “dream”.

BUT…….

THIS IS WHAT I READ BECAUSE THIS IS, APPARENTLY, WHAT I WROTE.

 Johny,

 You are an old spirit, smiling, cheerful, mirthful,

Who helps others change from bad to good.

Beware they not change you. Beware your Death.

You must always dress dapperly and neatly.

Wear the black belt next to the skin.

When you see clearly, the man will have something valuable for you.

As I said before, I remember writing this but I do NOT remember writing THIS…………and yes, my name was spelled incorrectly. 

Was this simply a message from my subconscious or was it a spirit message? A loved one? A control spirit? 

Occam’s Razor suggests my subconscious, of course: a message to myself.

Shakespeare suggests otherwise: “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

I really don’t know. All I know is that IT FREAKED ME OUT and comforted me (sort of) at the same time.

MY INTERPRETATION

You are an old spirit, smiling, cheerful, mirthful,

Who helps others change from bad to good.

It is true that I have always suspected that I was an “old spirit.” Ever since I was a kid I always felt as if I knew things that I shouldn’t know because I was either too young or years later, as an adult, had no relevant experience. Even in elementary and high school people often seemed to gravitate toward me to ask me for advice on stuff. They didn’t know why and I certainly didn’t know why but when I thought I was right, I knew I was. If I didn’t know, I would say so because I knew I didn’t know. This continued throughout my life and still does. A lot of time it’s relationship questions which is funny because I’ve never been married and have had only a handful of serious love affairs. I just never took the time. I wish I had… but, once again, that’s Lou Jacobi territory.

Beware they not change you.

Beware your Death.

Listening to other people’s problems, even though only trying to help, and absorbing negative energy can drain you. That’s why my psychic ex-girlfriend, Rossana, always warned me to “protect yourself by imagining yourself surrounded by white light”. They/it can change you.

As for Beware YOUR Death, my experience with Tarot cards has taught me that the Death card is the card of Change, as in the “death” of a former “self” for good or for bad.

You must always dress dapperly and neatly.

Your guess is as good as mine with this one for I have never been known for my sartorial elegance. Maybe that was the point. Or maybe, metaphorically speaking, it just meant that I must always be ready to present a good first , in whatever way I can.

Wear the black belt next to the skin.

Excellence and expertise in the martial arts are represented by a “Black Belt”.

To wear it “next to the skin” could mean to strive for excellence in everything I do. Keep it close to me, cherish it, protect it, make it a part of my being…OR…maybe it means to keep it under my clothes. A metaphor for humility. Maybe BOTH.

When you see clearly, the man will have something valuable for you.

I’ve always felt that this one speaks for itself. My heart tells me that it is the clearest message of all,the most important message of all. But I still don’t know what that message is.

A Halloween Story

Verum Fabula (A True Story)

Anyone who knows me at all knows that my favorite time of year is Halloween. I loved trick or treating as a kid but by the time I had reached my teens, I had stopped knocking on doors.  Although I love seeing people in their costumes, especially the little ones, I haven’t dressed up or gone to a Halloween party in years. For me, a party on The Night would be a waste of All Hallow’s Eve. I would rather walk the streets searching for trick or treaters and the answers to questions;searching for “thin spaces” or visiting “thin places”.if I ever get lucky enough. Still hoping. My dream for Halloween has always been to spend it in a bona fide haunted house. These days I usually have to settle for reading a scary book or watching a scary movie. I would even love to just sit around over coffee or “a cuppa” and discuss it all with “like souls.” .But alas, I know none..

I have always been fascinated with “things that go bump in the night”. Originally it was just for fun but now, while it’s still fun, it now informs some of my world view or “other-world view”.  I’m a little weird. I know.

When I was a teen-ager I hung out with The Jones Gang or Jones Crowd, a large group of uncommonly nice guys and girls from the Port Richmond section of Philly; There were a lot of sports; and a lot of hormones.

From time to time, some of the gang would refer to me as “The Spook”, which was neither a racial slur nor a reference to my time spent in the CIA. It was, of course, because of my proclivity to tell scary stories.

Anyway, here’s my Halloween story………….It was a dark and stormy night.

Actually, it wasn’t… but it WAS Halloween. At this point in time, many of the Jones Gang had drifted apart; torn apart by life; College, Marriage, Careers etc. I was in my early twenties and I was taking my Halloween walk. My favorite time is around 10 PM when all the revelers are gone or going and the kids are home negotiating with mom and dad for just one more piece of candy before bed. The streets are abandoned and deathly quiet except for that hummm of energy that still hangs around from all that went before. It’s like walking into an empty theatre a half hour after a packed concert. Candy wrappers blow across the pavements along with the occasional mask ungratefully discarded after it’s no longer needed.

But nothing is over. I believe that this time of Halloween night the spaces are the thinnest. The “veil” is down and spirits are among us.

I decided to walk down Tulip Street (An innocuous name for a scary trip. I know) to the Tulip-Lehigh railroad tunnel and walk past St.Anne’s Cemetery on Lehigh Ave. Kids used to swear that there was a tombstone in the cemetery with a crack in it and you could look down and see the coffin. Almost nobody  bought it; not even the most gullible kids in the neighborhood but it was fun to spread the rumor.

At the end of the short tunnel there was a hill that was bordered by a black iron spike-topped fence that led up to the railroad tracks. It was covered by dense, tall, weeds.

FLASHBACK: One summer as a group of us was on a trip back from the cemetery, I decided it was the perfect time for a “visit” from “The Spook”. There were  9 or 10 of us. About 4 girls. I stopped the group. “Wait a minute, guys. Did you hear something?. Look up there” They all gathered ‘round. It went something like this……. “ Imagine that as you’re passing by here, you think you hear a rustling in the bushes. You stop. Then the bushes move. Just a little. Then just a little more. Someone or something’s in there. You freeze. Then you hear a low, rumbling sound. It’s a growl. It must be a dog. Right? The growling gets a little louder and louder and suddenly a man stands up from the bushes. But it’s covered in hair. It lets out a roar. IT’S A WEREWOLF !!!!!!!!! “  Right on cue, one of the girls SCREAMED !!!! It was probably EILEEN. She was more than likely the least spooked of the group but also the one who loved playing along the most. She was the only one I can remember FOR SURE was there. She was a treasure.

EVERYBODY RAN up the street into the tunnel. Yelling. .Screaming.

Now this was a smart group..Every one of them would have “gotten in the running car”. Nobody was REALLY scared, of course, but I know I spooked them a little. And it was fun.

On my way to the cemetery, so many years later, I stopped at that spot and thought about the werewolf. I spooked myself a little. After all it WAS Halloween.

On my way back from the cemetery, I decided to take Aramingo Avenue which is a block away and also runs under the railroad tracks. The only difference is that the Aramingo tunnel is 3 times as long as the Tulip Tunnel. Both sides of the tunnel are lined from beginning to end with  stone pillars and amber lights both set about 6 feet apart stretching the entire  length from the “anxiety” of the entrance to the “safety” of the exit. There is no parking in the tunnel.

As I started down the left side of the tunnel at about 11:30 on Halloween Night, everything was dead quiet. No pedestrians, except for me (or so I thought). No cars. NOT ONE car ever passed through the entire time I was down there.

As I walked, about half-way in,  I heard a tapping sound. “Ticket-a ticket-a ticket-a  ticket-a  , Ticket-a ticket-a ticket-a  ticket-a  , Ticket-a ticket-a ticket-a  ticket-a  , Ticket-a ticket-a ticket-a  ticket-a  ,

I STOPPED.

IT STOPPED

I STARTED.

Ticket-a ticket-a ticket-a  ticket-a ,ticket-a ticket-a ticket-a  ticket-a  , Ticket-a ticket-a ticket-a  ticket-a

I STOPPED

IT STOPPED

I remember thinking that this was ALMOST as funny as it was disquieting because it seemed like a classic, (albeit cliche) scene from a horror movie.

This went on for about another minute until I looked across the street and saw A WOLF standing there staring at me. It was motionless.

OK. It probably WASN’T a wolf. Highly unlikely in Philadelphia. But it was Halloween. I was alone. It sure as hell looked like a wolf to me. Looking back, it could have been a coyote. Also a little unlikely in Port Richmond but coyotes are now in every state of the union except Hawaii. I looked it up.

I walked a little bit and his head followed me but he never moved. As a couple of the pillars passed by I peered around one and he was still watching me. He was frozen in the same position.

Another 20 feet and about 3 more pillars put us about 40 feet farther apart than when we first met. I peeked slowly and carefully around another pillar. HE WAS STARING RIGHT AT ME. I am not sure whether it was creepier this way or if he had continually walked with me out of the tunnel.

I was almost out. He was still watching me but I could barely see him now because of the angle of the pillars. I saw him one last time and then I stepped to the last pillar and I COULDN’T SEE HIM.

I immediately ran across to his side of the street and looked down the pavement. NOTHING.

I ran into the street and looked down the street. NOTHING.

Pavement again. Street again. NOTHING. He was gone.

He was either hiding behind one of those pillars or he vanished. The really creepy part about this whole affair was the fact that HE NEVER MOVED AND NEVER STOPPED STARING AT ME the entire time. It almost seemed as if he was making sure that I was getting out of his terrirory

Maybe this all wouldn’t have seemed so unnerving to me if it hadn’t been Halloween but maybe it  happened BECAUSE it was Halloween.

THE DAY I ALMOST “BOUGHT THE FARM”—–by John Timmons

THE DAY I ALMOST “BOUGHT THE FARM”—–by John Timmons www.writtenbyjohntimmons.com

emilia_clarke What could match the profound existential terror of another birthday? Jumping out of a goddamn plane is what….Instagram-October 23, 2020

In October of last year (2020) EMILIA CLARKE (one of the most courageous humans on the planet) went skydiving for her birthday and was apparently both a little terrified, and greatly exhilarated. I hope you will get a chance to read this story at some point, Emilia, because I think you will get a real kick out of hearing what it was like to skydive back in the 70s when chutes were different and there was no tandem. Although one didn’t freefall on one’s first jump, one jumped alone. 

This story is dedicated to my good, lifetime friend, CARL DIPILLA, with whom I shared this adventure. We lost him to Covid 19 in December 2020.. I miss him every day.

  IT was sometime in the mid-70s that three friends and I decided to go skydiving. It was Carl DiPilla and myself and Billy Matthews, the brother of a former girlfriend of mine, and Howard Van Horn with whom I once shared a Jersey Devil adventure.  But as Lou Jacobi says in Irma La Douce , “That’s another story.” The smartest one of the group was Steve Malloy who remained on the ground and watched.

  It was a brutally hot day in July or August as we started our training at some little jump site in New Jersey. We had six hours of training before we jumped. We had several hours of classroom instruction about how to, among other things, exit the plane safely, steer the chute with the toggle lines, and if necessary, deploy the reserve chute in an emergency.

Then they had us jumping over and over from 6 foot platforms to practice how to land. It was feet together, knees together, legs bent, then roll to the side on impact. 

INSTRUCTOR: ”Even if your chute  deploys successfully, if you don’t land the right way you could BREAK AN ANKLE  or BREAK A LEG!… If you don’t exit the plane with a firm push off, you could SMASH YOUR FACE on the landing wheel!… If your main chute fails to deploy,  you have to know how to open your emergency backup chute. You have to remember how to do that successfully or YOU WILL DIE.”

Each group was assigned their own personal instructor. Needless to say, although I’m saying it anyway, our instructor, as Carl put it, was AN ALARMIST!!!!!. He repeated those dire warnings over and over and over again, all day long. By the time we were ready to fly we were all exhausted and just a little terrified. At least I was.

  They had two planes on duty that day and several groups jumping, so we had to wait our turn in line as other people jumped and the planes circled back to land. The most popular plane for parachuting back in the early 70s was the Cessna 182 which only held 4 people (not including the pilot) but we jammed five in there including our wacky instructor.

 Boiling in the heat; carrying what felt like 2000 pounds of equipment; strapped and trapped in the jumpsuit and helmet with reserve chute on our chests and main chute on our backs, we waited for our plane to land. Nobody spoke. We were all secretly shaking in our boots. When I am nervous and stressed I often default to humor. So, being the last one in line, I managed to replicate an old Three Stooges routine. I turned slowly away from the line and started to tiptoe away. Carl played along with me perfectly.  I knew he would because we had both been brought up watching “the boys.” Doing his best Moe, he reached out and grabbed me by the collar and spun me around and said, “Hey, numbskull! Where do you think YOU’RE goin’?” and then he bopped me on the helmet. Everybody laughed and that broke the ice…….. for about five seconds.

   I was the last one in line because I insisted that I be the first one out of the plane. To this day I’m not really sure why I insisted on that. I guess it was either because I wanted some extra bragging rights or, more than likely, I was afraid that if I didn’t go first I may never get out of the plane.

  The parachutes themselves were round and white; straight out of World War II, like the 101st Airborne used when landing in France on D-Day. They weren’t the colorful Para-Foil canopies like they have today. I kept thinking how they were folded and packed by people that I didn’t know and would never meet. Talk about having faith in your fellow human beings.

Those days there was no such thing as freefall for beginners. There was no tandem jumping. Your first 10 jumps as a neophyte were static line jumps. That’s where the ripcord to the main shoot was attached by a line to the inside of the plane and when you jumped it would pull the chute for you. Sounds foolproof. Doesn’t it? I found out that it’s not.

  Our plane finally arrived and we all packed ourselves in on the floor of the fuselage. All the seats had been removed and Carl, Howard, Billy, the mad instructor, and myself seated ourselves in that order from back to front. I was seated right next to the door. We were told we were jumping from about 10,000 feet. As we climbed, I watched the little altimeter on the top of my reserve chute pack; 2000, 3000, 4000. When the needle hit the top, the pilot cut the engine speed in half, the door flew open, and I pooped my pants. Not literally, thankfully, but the view below, which on any other day would have been exhilarating, was now quite menacing . Then the plane banked to the right and I slid a little towards the open door. THAT too was a fun moment !!!

Time to jump. The instructor told me to check my static line. I checked my static line. “Get Ready” means stick your legs out the door, reach over and grab the strut under the wing,  pull yourself out and stand on the wheel of the plane. The instructor yelled, “ Get ready.” As I tried to step out, the wind blew my leg against the side of the door. Again, “Get ready.” I forced my legs out the door, grabbed the strut, and pulled myself out. From here you have to lean forward on the strut and push yourself backward as you jump off the plane because this is where the aforementioned “smashing your face on the wheel” bit comes in. “Get set” meant “Get set”( Last chance to crawl back through the door and beg forgiveness, I guess.) Finally the instructor yelled, “ GO”………. and I froze.

 Now I know this next part sounds like I’m doing standup comedy but I swear to you I have a clear memory of what I was thinking at that split second when he said, “ GO”. I was thinking, “Are you crazy? Jump?”

 At that point he reached out the door and smacked me with his hand on my helmet and screamed, “GO” which snapped me out of it and caused me to think,” I have to jump. That’s what I’m here for”.

So, I jumped.

 I managed to push away and avoided rearranging my face on the wheel but… after that? I FORGOT EVERYTHING. I was firing mental blanks. One after the other.

The first thing you’re supposed to do after you push off from the plane is to go immediately into what they call the “arch-spread position”; chest out,  head back, arms and shoulders arched backwards, so that all your weight is centered on your abdomen and you don’t flip over in mid-air. Your back is then clear so nothing interferes with the opening of the main chute. The last thing you want to do is flip over. I forgot all that and FLIPPED OVER THREE TIMES.

 The next thing I remember was the quiet. There was a lot of noise in the plane even after they powered down the engines, but all I could hear now was the wind blowing through my helmet. I was descending slowly, floating. I was parachuting.  How beautiful it was. How quiet it was. How serene it was. I had done it. Mission accomplished… But my peaceful relationship with the firmament was short-lived.

(STATIC AND THE CRACKLING SOUNDS OF A RADIO TRANSMISSION)

( panicked voice)” John. This is ground control. Kick your legs if you can hear me.”

THAT scared the hell out of me. Nobody told us there was a one-way radio built into the top of the reserve chute pack. Gee. I guess they didn’t want to scare us.

”Come on, John. Kick your legs if you can hear me.”

 Fine. I’ll play along. I kicked my legs.

“That’s good. Now pull the handle for your reserve chute.”

Wait, what? I couldn’t believe I was hearing this. Like an idiot I started yelling back at the radio as if he could hear me.

.

”Pull the reserve chute? Why? I’m fine!!!” 

The last thing I wanted to do was mess with the reserve chute. The procedure was as complicated as Einstein’s relativity theory.

“Come on John!! You have to pull the handle for your reserve chute. Now!!”

My mind was racing trying to figure out what the hell he was talking about. Finally, I looked up at my chute. I WAS SPINNING. With no point of reference up there, I hadn’t felt the rotation but I was definitely spinning along with the chute. When I failed to use the “arch-spread” position as I left the plane and tumbled in the air three times, two of the shroud lines( aptly named ) that are connected to the chute had apparently gotten caught on the edge of the chute and pushed in two of the panels. Not being  completely inflated, it was leaning to one side and spinning. At last,  I remembered something from the training. I remembered that this was called a “partial malfunction.” And it was dangerous.

“Crap !!”

“Come on, John. Pull the handle for the reserve chute, boy! Pull it! Pull it!”

His voice had changed from slightly panicked to panicked and pleading.

If it had been a “ total malfunction” where one is plummeting towards the ground at 120 miles an hour of terminal velocity, one just pulls the metal handle on the side of the reserve pack. The wind, at that speed, will RIP the pack open. Then, one just hopes for the best. But for a “partial malfunction” great care must be taken to complete the sequence that frees the reserve chute so it doesn’t get tangled with the main or before the main collapses completely. Even during a partial malfunction of my chute, I knew I was falling a lot faster than I seemed to be. Faster than I should have been. So, I could end up with broken legs, broken ankles, maybe a damaged spine, or the main chute could collapse at any second . You get the idea. So, I had no choice but to deploy the reserve chute.

I tried to remember the sequence that I was taught but the rising fear in my throat made its way up to my brain and I again started firing blanks.

STEP ONE: Place your left hand over the very front of the pack to catch the little pilot chute. The pilot chute is on a little spring and attached to the reserve chute. It helps pull the reserve chute from the pack. STEP TWO: Pull the metal ripcord handle on the side of the pack while catching the little pilot chute with your left hand. Then shove the metal handle down between the pack and your stomach to keep it from falling to the ground and crushing someone’s skull.. STEP THREE: Slowly let the little pilot chute out and then reach inside the pack, placing your thumbs at the back of the pack and feel for the very back of the chute. Pull the folded chute out of the pack and shake it open in the direction that you are spinning.

Voila !……. Piece of baklava!!

I made it through STEP ONE and STEP TWO except STEP ONE was actually STEP TWO and STEP TWO was actually STEP THREE because the real STEP ONE was…CLOSE YOUR LEGS!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

“Crap !!”

The little pilot chute POPPED UNDER MY HAND and slipped from my grasp like a cat that refuses to be held. It guided the reserve chute right BETWEEN MY LEGS!!! 

There I was; spinning like a top with a big, long. white, useless tail trailing behind me; flapping in the wind. All I could do was to try to pull the chute, hand over hand, back out from between my legs.

Meanwhile, back in the plane. My friend Carl said that the instructor, Mister Panic Attack, had been screaming out the open door at the top of his lungs, “Pull the reserve chute, boy! Come on, son. PULL IT, BOY!!! PULL IT!!! 

Sitting on the floor of the fuselage and weighed down with heavy equipment, none of my friends could see out of the tiny windows. All they had was the voice on the radio and the play-by-play from Mr. Panic.

 Carl said, “I just kept imagining you ‘Roman candling’ and I just kept thinking, ‘What am I going to say to his mother?’ ” 

After an eternity, I had only pulled the chute maybe a third of the way from in between my legs. The wind resistance was formidable and I was on the brink of despair when…….

“ Never mind, John. Leave it alone. Leave the chute between your legs. Your main chute has cleared.”

Wait. What?

 I looked up and sure enough, the shroud lines had slipped back off the chute, the two panels were clear, the chute was fully inflated and I might have enjoyed the rest of the now abbreviated ride, but I’ll be darned if I can remember. What I DO remember is the fact that I “stuck” the landing. Feet together, knees together and bent, roll to the side. Perfect. It was the ONLY thing I got right all day.

 Well, I guess if you had to pick one thing to get right, the landing would be first on the list.

As I was gathering up my chute,  a little white Rambler station wagon came roaring up in a cloud of dust and a guy jumped out.

“Hey, man. You ok? You had everybody freaking out down here. C’mon. I’ll give you a ride”

And he did. I was surrounded by well-wishers when I got out of the car, including my friend, Steve, who echoed the driver.

“You alright, brother? You put on quite a show. It was crazy down here. Everybody was panicked; running around, pointing up at you. They scrambled an ambulance AND a fire truck. I guess they figured you might crash AND burn” Steve was a funny guy. Still is.

In the meantime my friends were “hitting the silk.” After my near-death nonsense, I’m not sure that they were quite as enthused about jumping as they were before. Ironically, I landed closest to the drop zone target. My friends all landed way off and had a long trek back to the hangar because I was the only one for whom they sent a limo .You’d better believe I caught a lot of flack from them for THAT. My friends were so happy I was alive they could have killed me. 

 Carl came limping back with a sprained ankle. He landed in a bean field. He said he mistook the top of the bean field for the ground and braced himself too early. When he passed through the stalks, he momentarily relaxed and landed awkwardly. CRAP!!.

Looking back on this misadventure, I was very lucky. That chute could have easily collapsed. If it had, I would have been a goner. So far,  I have been a very lucky guy my whole life. Health, loving family, good friends, and generous talents. I am very grateful and I try to never let my expectations exceed my gratitude. I told myself that one day I would jump again and this time I would get it right. But I never did. Maybe I just didn’t want to push my luck.

“Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown”

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“Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.”

Posted on November 20, 2021

Chinatown This is the last line in Roman Polanski’s masterpiece film, Chinatown. The screenplay, Chinatown was written by Robert Towne but supposedly, Polanski ( with an assist from Jack Nicholson ) rewrote the final scene because he and Towne disagreed as to how the movie should end and Towne walked off the picture…..or so the story goes. At any rate, Robert Towne’s Chinatown is still one of the finest screenplays ever written.

Hi. I’m John Timmons. I’m originally from Philly and I’m a screenwriter. I write very good screenplays because SincerityI’m very good at it. I think one of the reasons for this is my visual affinity. I can see the film in my “minds eye” very clearly and that definitely helps. My writing is accomplished, my attention to detail takes many pains, and my rates are reasonable, flexible, and negotiable( please see Rates)…..If you have a great story idea that will make a terrific movie and you are looking to hire a script writer, then I may very well be your guy. Honestly, not all story genres are right for all screenwriters.That is true. But I have been a screenwriter-for-hire many times, and I have written in many different genres:  Action/Romantic Comedy/Science Fiction( adapted novel)/Horror/Cop Drama/Film Noir. (please see Credentials). I have also written spec scripts of my own, one of which, Mysterious Ways, has been optioned by Producer, Stephen Downing. (Dead By Dawn, Ocean Beach) 

MYSTERIOUS WAYS

MYSTERIOUS WAYS

Some of the more famous lines in good films have been a result of improvisation on the set or in rehearsals, or added by a director when a scene has been altered for practical reasons. Often that will lead amateurs to believe ” Oh, we’ll just bang out a screenplay in a couple of days and then we can improvise the rest on set.” Rather than take the time to hire a script writer, they’ll save money for a crane shot or another special effect by doing it themselves. But good films and great films begin ON THE PAGE. A screenplay is NOT A BIBLE but it IS a launching pad, a jumping-off point, a touchstone through which all things are then possible as production as begins. “(Screenplays) are invitations to others to collaborate on a work of art.”  Paul Schrader.

Taxi DriverThe better the screenplay, the more free everyone is to create. You have set up “rules” to follow and now you are free to change them or to break them. It is like following a detailed road map knowing that if you take side roads and detours you can always return to the main highway if you so choose. One can easily make a bad film from a good screenplay but one can NEVER make a good film from a bad screenplay.
“With a good script a good director can produce a masterpiece; with the same script a mediocre director can make a passable film. But with a bad script even a good director can’t possibly make a good film. For truly cinematic expression, the camera and the microphone must be able to cross both fire and water. That is what makes a real movie. The script must be something that has the power to do this.”...Akira Kurosawa.

Coppola, Kershner, Kurosawa, Lucas, Speilberg

Coppola, Kershner, Kurosawa, Lucas, Speilberg

Unfortunately, after a screenplay is purchased and moves into development, many good ones become bad ones because they get “rewritten”; often multiple times by egotistical producers who just want to put their greasy fingerprints on a project or who hire other screenwriters to “punch up” the script to make it “more commercial” or by ersatz directors who don’t know a damn thing about writing but just want to get a screenwriting credit. But, again, the better the screenplay the less they can screw it up…..too much…….sometimes. LOL Much of the time, one can only hope that an already good screenplay will fall into the hands of someone who can appreciate it. Or, of course, make the movie yourself…………………………..Here are a few more of my favorites:

cropped-the-exorcist-what-an-excellent-day.png

The Exorcist– Written by William Peter Blatty.

Father Merrin: “We may ask what is relevant, but anything beyond that is dangerous. He is a liar, the demon is a liar. He will lie to confuse us. But he will also mix lies with the truth to attack us. The attack is psychological, Damien, and powerful. So don’t listen, remember that, do not listen.”

Father Karras:” I think it would be helpful if I gave you some background on the different personalities Regan has manifested. So far, there seems to be three. She’s convinced …”

Father Merrin: “There’s only one…….”
************
“Could you help an old altar boy,  Father? I’m a Catholic.”

copy-Al_Pacino_and_Robert_Duvall_in_the_Godfather.jpg

The Godfather– Screenplay by Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola…….                     “I always thought it would have been Clemenza. Not Tessio.”                                                “It’s the smart move. Tessio was always smarter.” copy-Top.jpg

Inception-Written by Christopher Nolan.“She’ll be back. I’ve never seen anyone pick it up so fast. And one reality won’t be enough for her now….. SLP Diner

Silver Linings Playbook– Screenplay by David O. Russell
Tiffany: Why did you order Raisin Bran?
 Pat: Why did you order tea?[She eats cereal.] Tiffany[chewing] Because you ordered Raisin Bran. Pat: I ordered Raisin Bran because I didn’t want any mistaking it for a date. Tiffany: [chewing] It can still be a date if you order Raisin Bran. Pat: It’s not a date. So how’s your thing going — dancing thing? Tiffany: It’s good. How’s your restraining order? pulp-fiction-breakfast-scene

Pulp Fiction-Written by Quentin Tarentino

“I wouldn’t go so far as to call a dog filthy, but they’re definitely dirty. But a dog’s got personality. And personality goes a long way.”

So, by that rationale, if a pig had a better personality, he’d cease to be a filthy animal?”                                                                                                                          We’d have to be talkin’ ’bout one charmin’ pig. It’d have to be the Cary Grant of pigs.”

rocky-rocky-balboa-sylvester-stallone-flim-leather-jacket6

Rocky: Written by Sylvester Stallone…….

“My father….my old man….he was never too smart. He said to me, ‘You weren’t born with much of a brain’ You know? ‘So you better start using your body.’ Right? So I become a fighter……You know what I mean?………..Why you laughin’?”

“My mother….She said the opposite thing.”… “She said, ‘ You weren’t born with much of a body, so you better develop your brain.”

verdict_1

The Verdict-Screenplay by David Mamet…….

“There are no other cases. This is the case. There are no other cases. This is the case. There are no other cases. This is the case. …No other cases. This is the case.”

E-MAIL: johntimmons0462@gmail.com
Additional Contact
(747) 238-0788 (Cell)     609-541-4827 (Office)
johntimmons0462@gmail.com

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