The dilemma of creativity.

Creating a work of art presents the artist with a dilemma. How does one know the artwork is finished?

Suppose you’re a painter. You add brushstroke after brushstroke to your canvas, continually changing it. You alter a line here, blend a color there, add touches of light or dark, then stand back every so often for another critical examination. Which brushstroke makes your painting exactly right?

There is almost infinite potential in a canvas, brush and paint. But a painter must decide when to stop.

Does the artist finally stop because their creation “feels” right?

Feelings change.

Does the artist finally surrender? Does creativity meet a wall? Can the artist proceed no farther?

Human imagination is limitless.

Yes, your painting at this stage is beautiful. But why do you decide to now place it in a frame and say it’s done?

I just finished writing a short story about this artistic dilemma. And about other mysterious things. It’s titled The Wheel.

The main character in this small story is a potter.

Will I ever make changes to this work of fiction? Who knows?

Read it by clicking here.

Pumping sewage and Emerson’s mutable cloud.

What words would you expect to read on the side of a sewage pumping station?

Caution? Beware of spill? In case of vile stink, call an emergency phone number immediately?

Pump Station #4 in Point Loma is different. You can find it at the corner of Carleton Street and Shafter Street, near the entrance to Shelter Island. Large words on the small pump station might cause those walking by to stop and wonder. Nature is a mutable cloud which is always and never the same.

It’s a quote by transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson.

If you think about it, sewage is simply another part of nature. And it’s a sort of mutable cloud, always and never the same. It’s a liquidy cloud that’s kept safely unseen and unsmelled.

This very unusual public art was created by Marcos Ramirez and Teddy Cruz. The otherwise ugly cinder block pump station was painted blue and made interesting with an adjacent sculpture of beams, and the steel lattice on two sides containing Emerson’s strangely appropriate philosophical quote.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

A short story about how we are made of stars.

I finished writing another short story. This once has the simple title Twinkle.

Once upon a time I studied physics in college. Back then I learned that the elements composing you and I and the entire world were forged in the furnaces of stars. (Mostly, that is.)

A month or so ago I was out on one of my walks, moving through a poorer neighborhood, when I saw flowering weeds in the bare dirt of a front yard. And the seed for a philosophical story entered my mind.

The short story that finally grew and matured you can read here.

A very short story with a surprise ending.

Do you like to read stories with surprise endings?

I finished writing another very short story. This one features a turn of events at the end that is completely unexpected. The story is titled Poem to Myself.

Like most of my fiction this piece is a bit philosophical, and it contains both darkness and light.

How is that possible when the main character is a self-centered creep?

There’s a poem in it somewhere? Will the light triumph?

Read it here to see what happens!

A short story about gratitude and humility.

I finally finished writing another short story.

This one was very difficult, and I’m still not sure it’s exactly right.

We live in a dark moment of history, when many people are suffering because of the coronavirus pandemic. And pain is an essential part of this story.

But the story, titled The Pier, contains happiness, too. It’s ultimately about human gratitude and humility.

You can read it here.

If you’re bored sitting at home while the pandemic rages, and you like to read, you might enjoy checking out dozens of thought-provoking short stories here.

As always, thank you for coming along on my small adventures.

Richard

Let’s celebrate Read Across America Week!

Soar to new heights. Read.
An outdoor mural near the Linda Vista library. Soar to new heights. Read.

Read Across America Week kicked off on Monday!

Read Across America Day, which begins a week-long celebration of reading, was created by the National Education Association. It’s held on the school day that is nearest to March 2nd. That’s Dr. Seuss’s birthday! And, as many of you know, Theodor Seuss Geisel was a famous resident of La Jolla in San Diego!

I thought I’d celebrate Read Across America Week with some past photographs concerning the written word. And photos that celebrate Dr. Seuss, too!

Those who love to read meet those who love to write at the San Diego Union-Tribune 3rd Annual Festival of Books!
Those who love to read meet those who love to write at the San Diego Union-Tribune 3rd Annual Festival of Books!
First 5 San Diego was promoting parents reading to their children at a very young age.
First 5 San Diego was promoting parents reading to their children at a very young age.
Eat. Sleep. Read.
Eat. Sleep. Read. A shirt for sale at the Festival of Books at Liberty Station.
Cat in armchair reads Of Mice and Men. On the shelves are Cat's Cradle, The Cat in the Hat, Puss in Boots, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof...
Street art in Normal Heights. Cat in armchair reads Of Mice and Men. Book on the nearby shelves include Cat’s Cradle, The Cat in the Hat, Puss in Boots, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof…
Those who will participate in the historic Book Pass, wearing yellow scarves, fan out along seven blocks of West Washington Street in Mission Hills.
Library books are transported by public volunteers from an old branch library to a brand new building down the street. Those who will participate in the historic Book Pass, wearing yellow scarves, fan out along seven blocks of West Washington Street in Mission Hills.
Library books are transported by the hands of those who love to read to their new home.
Library books are transported by the hands of those who love to read to their new home.
Chris Vannoy, US National Beat Poet Laureate 2018-2019, reads live poetry in the Zoro Garden during the Garden Theatre Festival in Balboa Park.
Chris Vannoy, US National Beat Poet Laureate 2018-2019, reads live poetry in the Zoro Garden during the Garden Theatre Festival in Balboa Park.
Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are. Mason Cooley
Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are. Mason Cooley
Mark Twain is reading his own classic American novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Sculpture of Mark Twain on a bench. The humorist is reading his own classic American novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Mr. Samuel Clemens, American author of many famous books and stories, relaxes under a tree in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park during 2015 TwainFest.
Mr. Samuel Clemens, American author of many famous books and stories, relaxes under a tree in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park during 2015 TwainFest.
Moby Dick reading marathon on the poop deck of the 1863 tall ship Star of India.
Moby Dick reading marathon on the poop deck of the 1863 tall ship Star of India.
Yo que me figuraba el paraiso bajo la especie de una biblioteca. From Poem of the Gifts, by Jorge Luis Borges . . . I who had always thought of Paradise in form and image as a library . . .
Words engraved outside the San Diego Central Library. Yo que me figuraba el paraiso bajo la especie de una biblioteca. From Poem of the Gifts, by Jorge Luis Borges. I who had always thought of Paradise in form and image as a library.
Visitor to art gallery at the downtown San Diego Library looks at a rare Shakespeare First Folio, open to Hamlet. The nearby wall features a mural of 17th century London and the original Globe Theatre.
Visitor to art gallery at the downtown San Diego Library looks at a rare Shakespeare First Folio, open to Hamlet. The nearby wall features a mural of 17th century London and the original Globe Theatre.
A simple, homemade lending library box next to somebody's front yard in Crown Point, a neighborhood on Mission Bay. Leave a book or take one!
A simple, homemade lending library box next to somebody’s front yard in Crown Point, a neighborhood on Mission Bay. Leave a book or take one!
It’s Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham! This fun art was photographed outside the Legends Gallery in La Jolla, hometown of popular children’s book author Theodor Geisel.
It’s Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham! This fun art was photographed outside the Legends Gallery in La Jolla, hometown of popular children’s book author Theodor Geisel.
Dr. Seuss and The Cat in the Hat are cast in bronze at UC San Diego in La Jolla, not far from the place where the famous children’s author resided much of his life.
Dr. Seuss and The Cat in the Hat are cast in bronze at UC San Diego in La Jolla, not far from the place where the famous children’s author resided much of his life.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Do you love to read? I love to write!

If you’d like to check out my short works of fiction (and a few poems), click Short Stories by Richard.

Library honors those who dare to write!

To write a book requires great daring.

An author labors every day, hour, minute, writing, brainstorming, re-writing, doubting, dreaming, despairing, pouring out heart, soul and some of their deepest, most vulnerable thoughts for the entire public to read.

Will the finished words be criticized?

Will the author be ridiculed?

Will all that hard, agonizing work simply be ignored?

During the month of February, the San Diego Central Library is honoring the work of local writers. Books and eBooks that have been published in the past year are on display in the Local Author Showcase. The beautiful books have taken center stage on the first floor of the library for everyone to admire.

Writing is difficult. Writing a book is extremely difficult.

Congratulations to those who dared and succeeded!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

A short story about hidden treasure.

Please indulge me one more time as I share another short story that I’ve written. I published it a moment ago.

If you like the heartwarming stories of O. Henry, there’s a decent chance you’ll like this one. It’s titled A Key to Treasure.

Yes, there’s a surprise ending.

Read it here.

Sorry for the interruption! Fear not! The walks around San Diego will continue! More cool photographs are sure to come!

Two short stories about caging wild things.

My writing website Short Stories by Richard keeps expanding.

This weekend I’ve published two unusual short stories.

Both tiny works of fiction concern the difficulty of caging wild, undefinable things. Things like divine beauty and absolute truth.

Aviary Observations is about art, capturing beauty and our human limitations.

Soul to Soul is about putting into words deeper truths that cannot be adequately expressed.

Both quirky stories contain humor! We’re human after all.

You can click the above links if you’re curious.

How to possibly move the Earth.

I wrote another small story yesterday.

The words came to me in Balboa Park while I listened to my friend Mitchell playing didgeridoo. People walking down El Prado would pause before the strange, resonant instrument. A brave few would dance.

As people came and went, I wondered what effect their movement might have on the planet. Both Mitchell and I are curious about strange, cosmic things.

The title of my short story is Spinning the Earth.

If you like to use your imagination, click here!