BOOKS

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RUNNING DOWN A DREAM:  The making of a film

Author: Paul Gorman

Genre: Memoir

 

Haunted for thirty years by a dream of a female friend’s death eight years before she died in a skydiving accident, Filmmaker Paul Gorman hopes to unlock the mystery of his dream by making a film about her.

 

Gorman’s memoir tells the remarkable story about the making of his 2014 award winning documentary film, "Ride The Sky". Gorman retraces pioneering skydiver Joan Carson’s nomadic life from the time of her death in 1981 back to her childhood. His journey uncovers a cult-like band of skydivers addicted to the "adrenaline rush" of living on the edge and jumping out of airplanes at their homemade airport in the wilderness. And the queen of this colony is former cheerleader Joan Carson. Continuing his quest, Gorman discovers the meaning of his dream locked away in a painful secret from Carson's past. In the end, this past reconnects with the present in a most surprising and emotional way.

 

If you enjoyed INTO THE WILD by Jon Krakauer and WILD by Cheryl Strayed, you'll love this powerful story of heartache and triumph.

Available as a Kindle ebook and paperback from Amazon Books. Click here to purchase.

INTO TROUBLE

Author: Paul Gorman

Genre: European Travel Adventure

INTO TROUBLE tells the true story of shy nineteen-year-old Paul Gorman's 1969 backpacking trip to Europe. 

As a harbinger of things to come, while hitchhiking to Chicago, he experiences 120 mph car chases between

ex-convicts and cops, followed by lustful advances. Several weeks after landing in Luxembourg, Gorman heads south in search of sunshine, beaches full of beautiful Scandinavian girls, and cheap prices. He winds up in Franco's Spain: the Canary Islands. While there, he gets into trouble, so much so that the U.S. Department of State gets involved in his case, using him as a pawn in an arms agreement between the Nixon administration and Spain.

Gorman's adventure is the dramatic and sometimes humorous story of a young man searching for his place in the world, coming to terms with his relationship with his abusive father, chasing after romance, avoiding the draft, and lessons he learned from his travels. Along the lines of "Into The Wild" by Jon Krakauer, "Midnight Express" by Billy Hayes, and "Catch Me If You Can" by Frank Abagnale, this riveting tale will entertain and intrigue you. "It's honest and authentic and, simply, an amazing story."

Edited by Barbara Noe Kennedy, editor of the best seller, "Bad Karma: The True Story of a Mexico Trip From Hell". Barbara spent 23 years as a senior editor of travel books at National Geographic.

Click Here to pre-order for October 1, 2021 ebook delivery through Amazon. Price is only $.99 until Oct 1.

Click Here to read an article about "Into Trouble" from the Tacoma Weekly.

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Excerpt from INTO TROUBLE

Author: Paul Gorman

Copyright 2021 by Paul Gorman

All Rights Reserved

 

Chapter 1

INTERROGATED

May 2, 1969 — Las Palmas, de Gran Canarias, Spain

 

 

 

     Three armed policemen led me into an office where Capitán González sat at a heavy wooden desk beneath a framed picture of Generalissimo Francisco Franco.

     A graying Indian man named Mr. Bhatt entered last, standing slightly behind and off to the side of us.

     Open-faced fluorescent bulbs, several hanging light fixtures, and a barred window dimly illuminated the room. Several army-green file cabinets lined the wall to the left of the window. I was in Las Palmas Municipal Jail. I knew the officer’s name was González by the black engraved name tag pinned to the breast pocket flap of his short-sleeve khaki shirt, exposing his hairy arms.

     “Sit down,” he ordered in English with a heavy Spanish accent. An officer wearing glasses motioned for me to sit in one of two wooden chairs in front of the desk. Seated now, one of the other guards settled beside me.

     “What is your name?” González asked, lighting a Ducados cigarette before exhaling a blue, foul-smelling plume that sinuously wrapped its entrails around the overhead lampshade.

     Man, I hate the smell of Spanish cigarettes, I grumbled silently. They smell like burning garbage. Waving away the smoke, I told González my name was Scott Charles.

     “Age?” González queried, writing his report.

     “Nineteen.”

     González blew out another blast of pollution into the air, stinging my eyes. “Nationality?” He scribbled away without looking up.

     “American, I’m an American, you know, and I have my rights, you know. I demand to know what this is all about, you know.”

     González set down his pen then hammered a meaty fist on the desktop. “This is not America!” he shouted. “In U.S.A., people who think they big shots do this.” Lifting his legs, he thrust his black jackboots on his desk and reclined in his chair, puffing a vast cloud of smoke skyward. “You are in España, not America,” he yelled, his eyes raging and jugular bulging.

     Taken aback by his ferocity, I tried to remain indignant. I would talk my way out of the situation. Of course my name wasn’t Scott Charles. Nevertheless, the name on the two American Express checks I’d forged and cashed at Mr. Bhatt’s camera shop in the port area was. González plucked the two checks off his desk.

      Squinting, he examined the signatures. Leaning left, he conferenced in hushed Spanish with a gangly mustached officer. The Capitán opened his desk. With a grunt, he turned to me, holding out a blank sheet of paper. “Sign this,” he said, sliding the paper toward me.

     Panic-stricken, my gut clenched as I rose from my chair, reaching for the pen González pointed at me.

     “What am I supposed to sign?” I asked, knowing he wanted to compare my Scott Charles signature with the name I penned on the checks.

     “Sign your name, Señor Charles.”

     González turned the checks over so I couldn’t see the signatures on the face side of them. Droplets of perspiration formed on my forehead as I tried to visualize the signatures on the checks. Conveniently, when I had signed them, I could look at the original Scott Charles signatures on the checks. Never having forged anything before, for some peculiar reason forging his signature was easy. Now it was going to be difficult. I drew in a deep breath to relax, closed my eyes, and signed the name, concentrating on the mechanics—the feel of the signature, not the image.

     I set down the pen, opened my eyes, and to my astonishment saw my re-creation. It was perfect, exactly as I remembered. González scooped up the paper, comparing the new forgery with those on the checks. He conferred with the lanky mustached officer. Relaxing, González turned to me. “Señor Charles, sorry for the confusion, you are free to go.”

     Relieved, I emptied my lungs as I rose. “Gracias, Capitán González.”

     Mr. Bhatt stepped forward. “Capitán González,” he said with a British/Indian accent. “The bank will not accept the checks without his passport number. They claim American Express  reported the checks as missing. We need his passport number or our money returned.”

     González’s eyes shifted to me. “Where is your passport, Señor Charles?”

     “Uh, it’s on the ship.”

     Actually, the ship from Barcelona docked two months earlier. My passport was in my rucksack at my friend Terry’s flat.

     For a moment, González pondered, scratching one of his hairy arms. “There’s nothing I can do, Mr. Bhatt,” he said, gazing in his direction. “This is a federal matter. If you want his passport, you must see the Guardia Civil.”

     Mr. Bhatt’s eyes caught mine. I cast mine away, avoiding eye contact with him. He then spun to González. “Capitán González, with due respect, we checked with the port and there are no passenger ships here at the moment.”

     I recoiled, wishing I could vanish as González’s eyes bore into me. “Señor Charles, is that correct?”

     “Uh, uhm, I don’t know,” I said, biding time to come up with an explanation. “I did come here on a ship and, uh, lost my passport, you know.”

     González studied me briefly and then scrutinized the names closely. Opening a smaller drawer, he pulled out a magnifying glass, comparing the signatures with an eye resembling a fish’s. I began sweating again. Setting the magnifying glass down, his eyes tilted up at me. “Where are you staying, Señor Charles?”

     “Uh, on the beach, you know,” I said, forcing a smile.

     “Which beach?”

     “Uh, I don’t know. The one with the fishing boats. You know, the one by the port.”

     Stroking the five o’clock shadow on his chin, González mused, and then glanced around the room at the other officers and Mr. Bhatt. Finally, his gaze settled on me. “Why are you sleeping on the beach when you have money? One hundred dollars is much money. You can afford a pension. Sí?”

     “Uh, because I like it, you know,” I said, feigning a smile as to how stupid my story sounded.

     Laughing along with his officers, González directed his attention at me. “You like sand fleas, rotting fish, and being awakened at dawn by fishermen?”

     “Hippie,” I smirked.

Again, González and his men laughed. As the laughter subsided, he became deadly serious. “Where are your bags, Señor Charles?”

     “Bags?”

“Yes, your bags, Señor Charles,” González pressed. “Surely you have bags. Even hippies have bags.”

Cornered, with no way out other than being honest—at least momentarily, until I could come up with an innovative way to bluff my way out, I responded honestly. “Uh, they’re at a friend’s, you know.”

     “And what is the location of your friend’s place?”

     “In town, you know, the tourist section. I’ll go get them.” Rising, I did an about-face to leave, walking no farther than one step before González interrupted me.

     “Stop,” he commanded. A thin-lipped officer stepped in front of me, blocking my exit. “Señor Charles, my men will escort you and Mr. Bhatt there.”

     Out of the corner of my eye, I could see a conflicted look on Mr. Bhatt’s face. On one hand, he just wanted his money back. On the other, he seemed concerned about my well-being. Despite my act, I was a teenager and think I came across as a polite and likable—albeit vulnerable—kid. Perhaps I reminded him of one of his seven children I’d met earlier in the day, after his two oldest sons accosted me and brought me to clear up the matter at his shop.

     I glanced around González’s office. With dark hair, bangs, and olive colored skin, one of his men resembled my brother, Bob—only older. As we drove to Terry’s place to get my “bags”, I reflected on the day I left home and how my brother dropped me off at a freeway onramp. That was nearly four months ago, a life-time ago, and so much had happened since then. There was no way I could foretell the future that day, and even if I could, I probably wouldn’t have stayed home, because I was on a one way trajectory into trouble. And now by the looks of it, I had arrived.