Timmons Project Launch
"From Book Idea to Video"
by Tom Sylvest, Jr.

At the beginning of the 1990s, Dr. Edwin O. Timmons, Ph.D., Psychology, met with some colleagues, clients, and former students in New Orleans. We gathered to discuss Dr. Timmons’ plans and direction as he entered his later years.

Dr. Timmons had retired as a professor from Louisiana State University in 1983. He expanded his consulting practice. His speaking engagements were fun and interesting. He enjoyed teaching at a few banking schools. This kept him very busy each year. He recognized a point would come where traveling would not be as attractive and exciting as it had been. He wanted to shift his focus and find ways to deliver his work in meaningful activities.

One idea stood out like a sore thumb. His crew of caring advisors latched on to the enthralling notion that Dr. Timmons needed to write a book. He became as enthusiastic as his crew with the prospects.

Enthusiasm can ignite a flame. The flame flickers searching for fuel. If it finds fuel the resulting blaze depends on constant stoking. A sufficient conflagration provides a catalyst to create and forge a durable product.

The constant stoking is key. It is difficult to maintain. And the supply of fuel must be readily available.

For whatever reasons, Dr. Timmons' enthusiasm for the book waned. His juices really flowed when he worked with people. I truly believe the huge task of writing a book seemed like a lonely, daunting pursuit to him. That was not his nature. This is only my guess. I have a note he sent me at one point when he did not complete a commitment regarding the book. He apologized for his failure. He made no excuses. And it pained him deeply that he may have disappointed us.

Here's a scan of a note he sent me in January 1990 renegotiating the deadlines to which he had agreed.

I recall we talked about the book idea and came to realize the idea was more our dream than it ever was his dream. This conclusion liberated Dr. Timmons. He gave himself permission to pursue his nature just as each member of his crew were allowed to pursue theirs.

Life appeared to return to normal with the expectation of a book set aside. We continued our work, both together and separately.

Almost all of Timmons' work had been written down for handouts and training material. The writings were in different forms. Some were just notes. Some were lecture scripts. I was familiar with all of it. Some of it I had even created.

During these days, I had acquired my third personal computer, another, more powerful Apple Macintosh. I used it to produce my own marketing and consulting materials. A bit at a time, I transcribed much of the various materials that contained Timmons work into a word processing program. While I did this it occurred to me that I could go a step further than compile notes and class handouts.

I could write a book.

I could write Dr. Timmons' book.

I could in effect be the ghost writer of his book.

I brought the idea to Dr. Timmons.

We both got excited.

By September of 1992 I had a working manuscript. The initial work I gave to Dr. Timmons. Here is my note that accompanied the package I gave to Timmons.

September 9, 1992


Nearly three years have passed since you gathered your friends and colleagues together at David Lange's office. The afternoon of December 16, 1989 you wrote a contract with yourself which the rest of us witnessed. You intended to write a book.

With every intention of writing this book, you later bought a computer. At that point, you seemed very serious about this book thing, but just a bit out of character. I was amused, but concerned until you told me you anointed your computer with the affectionate cognomen Mud. That was the T I knew. But from that action, not much more happened.

In my opinion, the rest of us were more excited about you writing a book than you were. I find this very understandable. We were not writing the book. You were. Our job was easy: simply support you. Your job was not.

Of course, writing a book is no small chore for anyone. This would seem especially so for a person with such a high need for achievement. How could a book ever be sufficient to tell all that needs to be told?

Also, writing a book would appear to be a daunting task for a person who is sweetly haunted by the lovely voice of a Miss Lois saying, "Anything worth doing is worth doing well!" How could a book ever get out of the presses when it just isn't finished until it is right?

In addition, a person who cringes at the word 'organization' is not likely to revel in the order one must conjure up to write a book. How could a book be born without a fertile outline?

Finally, a book is much too passive for a person who derives so much joy from activating others to learn more about themselves and others and witnessing this with his own eyes. How much joy can be gathered from shutting oneself away at a keyboard to construct clever phrases to describe wise musings?

No, writing a book is not your cup of coffee; your cup of hemlock, maybe.

The above is not a litany of your weaknesses. It is only my amateurish attempt to make sense of why you will never write a book. It is also my reason to make the attempt myself.

As you are aware I have been working on "your" book. A few months ago I compiled a couple of outlines from the notes I collected from your 2004 class and other presentations you have made. After staring at these outlines for weeks, I began writing a few sentences for each line in the outlines. I tried to tell the stuff I heard you say and offer my insights, experiences, and thoughts about your information. The result is the binder I have given you.

However, I have come to an impasse in my efforts. If you have any need to perceive yourself and be perceived by others as someone who provides succor, allow me to help you fill this need by knowing I am a sucker for succor at this point in my writing. I need to know what role you would like to play in helping me get this book done. I need your experience and knowledge to help me accurately present this information to others. I need your critical eye and loving heart to help me make this thing readable.

I must tell you that I feel a little presumptuous in thinking that I can write about stuff you have worked with so expertly for more than thirty years. I have very mixed feelings about this book project. For instance, both altruistic and selfish motives drive this work. On the one hand, I strongly believe many, many people who have heard you speak over the years would have greatly appreciated something they could have carried away with them. Those that haven't heard you may also appreciate and benefit from learning the principles and processes you profess.

However, I have motives which will benefit me. Though I feel a twinge a guilt, I will happily endure it. First, with an iota of embarrassment, I admit I want to be seen as an authority. Pardon the pun, but in my book, authorship offers one road to this goal. Secondly, a book with my name on it may open doors for me I could not open any other way. Finally, there just might be some money in this book; who knows?

I could probably continue writing and rewriting and rewriting, but I am beginning to feel as if I am working in a vacuum. And since vacuums suck, give me succor. (Couldn't pass that up, though I probably should have.)

Here's what I want:

Please read through this draft. See if it stimulates your thinking and inspires you to consider the possibilities. This draft is intended to find out if you want to take this journey with me. You may want to play the role of consultant to the book. You may want to coauthor the book or write it yourself. You may only want to write a couple of passages to the reader or insert your special stories or offer the most important things people should know. In effect, I have served up the ball and hit it to your side of the court. If you want to play this game with me, let's go and have some fun.

Please know that I am not really asking for detailed editing from you. We have professionals to do that. But as you read through this, you may not be able to avoid noting some mistakes I have made in accuracy or in over-working a topic or whatever. If you feel so inclined, do note any content problems, grammatical errors, confusing sentences, unclear points, inaccurate statements, and other stumbles as you come across them.

T, I hope you'll want to come with me on this adventure. I see so many possibilities. You have left a wonderful legacy in the students you have touched through the years. Allow me to help you add to this legacy in the form of a book so you can touch many more people in the years to come.

What do you say? Is it a deal?


He diligently and deliberately edited each page. He offered suggestions. He revised passages. He wrote notes about what I might include. He made valuable comments about how I could improve my writing.

We had a wonderful time drinking coffee in his kitchen with his lovely wife, Miss Mary. We moved into his office and library to gather our thoughts and discuss ways to improve the book. We sat in the garden room and told stories and laughed at ourselves and our foibles. I have enjoyed many special days in my life. I count these among the collection of halcyon days I have experienced.

In the end, the book sat in my computer. The dragon that blocked our way forward went by the name Bibliography. Dr. Timmons' work drew on the work, studies and findings of so many towering figures in psychology, philosophy, medicine, sociology, and who knows what else. We wanted to give credit to those folks. We also wanted to help readers discover more about the contents of the book. True to his nature, Dr. Timmons wanted to honor the shoulders upon which he stood and to allow others to educate themselves beyond his lessons.

Gathering, compiling and assembling a bibliography loomed as an insurmountable obstacle. The sweep of topics Dr. Timmons used in his teachings was vast. He lost track of the sources of many concepts and principles. We together decided the effort would be worthy, but impossible within the timeframe we were envisioning.

I remember us laughing about it. I told him we could claim we made everything up ourselves and had no idea that there were people out there as smart as us.

We completely dropped the book project. The written work I had done became an excellent reference for anyone interested in learning about Timmons' Behavioral Dynamics. I massaged the manuscript from time to time and began converting it to my voice with my own examples. Now and then I would produce a CD of the work and give it to people who were interested.

I began learning HTML code in the mid 1990s. I had plans to create a website for my cartoons. Within a few months I had a website setup. I decided to devote part of the website to Behavioral Dynamics. I figured this would be a good way to share the work with others. I went to work creating the HTML pages from the manuscript. Here is a link to those results. Dr. Timmons' Behavioral Dynamics

Time passed. In late 2001 through early 2002, Dr. Timmons became very ill. He passed away on April 23, 2002. His kids, the students he had taught through the years and with who he worked, observed his passing with sorrow. They also renewed their commitments to maintain his memory in their own ways.

For my part, I returned to the writings I had compiled. I reorganized them and added more material as I had time. I maintained the work on the website and continued to distribute it to interested people as circumstances demanded. Beyond that effort I had no plans to publish the work or create a product for distribution.

My wife and I suffered through the results of Hurricane Katrina (2005), Hurricanes Gustav and Ike (2008) and the Baton Rouge Flood in August 2016. Our lives were disrupted mightily. We worked at the restoration of our home and lives for over a decade. In addition, I lost my mom to a long illness and my wife's parent became ill and passed away during these years. Behavioral Dynamics found a role in my life in the way I interacted with others, but I was too distracted to fashion ways to share this work with others.

During the recovery from the flood in September of 2016, I called Miss Mary Timmons, Dr. Timmons' widow. We delighted in recalling our memories. I visited with her in her home and we renewed our friendship and relationship. Our conversations included the “book.”

I lamented the fact we had done such good work, but that nothing had come of it. She encouraged me to pursue my own book. She suggested I could write a book about my time with her husband and deliver and promote his work in that format. She felt that no bibliography should stand in my way. I seriously considered this approach. It sounded like an alternative I could enthusiastically explore.

As busy as I was managing the repairs to my home, I welcomed the creative effort Miss Mary had suggested. Though I was living in our small RV in the driveway of my home, I had wi-fi connection for my new laptop and my smartphone. That's all I needed to begin anew on a book project.

Publishing a book is a daunting chore. I had helped my dad with books he had written. He went the self-publishing route using Author House to help him through the process. When he published his last book, "Buttermilk," I acted as his editor and interfaced with Author House during the layout and publishing process. I learned a lot.

One of the things I learned is that book publishing, especially self-publishing, can be expensive. It seems like such a straightforward effort, but small expenses add up when folks want to "help" you promote your book. Marketing your work to a wider audience has hidden fees. The expenses may be well worth it. I just didn't have funds to devote to rebuilding a house AND self-publishing a book. I thought I had hit another obstacle that would delay me.

Even with this apparent obstacle, I worked the manuscript again and added more material and flesh to the bones. I knew a time would come when I could fully understand our financial situation and reassess how much of our resources I could put towards a book. It just made sense to “keep on keep’n on” as Dr. Timmons would say.

I cannot pinpoint a date when a new idea struck me about how to deliver Timmons’ Behavioral Dynamics. This new idea emerged from witnessing the explosion in YouTube videos. I wondered what might be involved with creating videos to present that which I planned for a book. I had developed some skill at creating simple animations for my TigerToons. I had spent time learning how to use the applications available from Adobe, from Illustrator and Photoshop to Audition and Premier Pro and from Dreamweaver and Character Animator to Media Encoder and Indesign. I am certainly not an expert with these applications. However, I am proficient enough to cobble together some decent graphics and interesting animations with pretty decent voiceover narration.

I won’t bore you with the fun and interesting ways I learned how to create little amateur videos. I followed many excellent instructors on YouTube to help me learn principles and techniques in producing videos. I even paid tuition for a few full courses in how to do this and that.

I am at a point now, in May 2022, to use my learning and skills to move from book to video. I have the content from the book project. I am not sure where all of this will go. I am excited to push forward and see what happens. Here's a link to the video: Behavioral Dynamics: The Beginning...Video 1

Thank you for being interested in following this adventure.