Seeing the future by looking backward.

These old train tracks pass south over the Sweetwater River on a bridge that is no longer in use.

Do you like ghost stories?

Do you like riding trains?

Answer yes to either question, and you might enjoy a new short story that I published this morning. It’s titled Backward Man.

Is it possible to see the future by looking backward? That seems like a reasonable assertion, right?

If a little strangeness and horror are your cup of tea, you can read the story by clicking here!

Books rise into the Escondido sky!

How could I not share these photos?

I was walking near the Escondido Public Library, after checking out the library’s huge new mural, when I glimpsed distant books flying into the sky!

I’d discovered a mural painted in the alley behind Helen’s Book Mark, a used book store on Grand Avenue.

I headed directly to the artwork to see the rising books. (Or are they descending from a lofty place?)

The mural has two signatures. RWBrown, 2000, and Hanna’s Murals, 2021.

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!

Huge, amazing mural at Escondido Library!

Wow! Have you seen the huge mural that was recently painted on the side of the Escondido Public Library, facing the new mini park?

I heard about it and had to go see for myself!

The amazing mural, presented by the Escondido Library Foundation and the City of Escondido, is titled Escondido’s Vision. It was painted by Julia Anthony in late 2021, and officially dedicated, along with the new park, last month.

The bright, super colorful artwork depicts a beautiful day in Escondido, through the prism of imagination. It’s a broad landscape where the sun shines, reading is fun, the future is hopeful, and life is good!

I took a variety of photographs at different distances…

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!

Kicking off the 2022 Coronado Community READ!

An awesome month-long event kicked off today in the grassy park beside the Coronado Public Library. The 2022 Coronado Community READ is underway!

The event, in its sixth year, encourages residents of Coronado to read one particular book, which is selected by vote-casting members of the community. After two years of isolation and strain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, it might be more important and satisfying than ever for neighbors to come together with a shared experience.

For 2022 the Coronado Community READ book is West with Giraffes by Lynda Rutledge. West with Giraffes, according to its description, is about “two giraffes who made headlines and won the hearts of Depression-era America as they traveled across the country to our very own San Diego Zoo.” (Wow! I think I need to read it, too, even though I don’t live in Coronado!)

You can learn more about the book here!

There are two additional books for Coronado’s young readers to enjoy together: Turtle in Paradise: The Graphic Novel by Jennifer L. Holm, and Ty the Quiet Giraffe by Carrie Hasler.

When I heard about this unique “community read” I had to go check out its kick-off today at Coronado Library Park. Following a small speech, the gathered audience listened to the great jazzy music of the Coronado Big Band!

There are various special happenings coming up in April that are part of the big reading event. This coming Thursday, April 7, the author of West with Giraffes will be speaking and autographing her book!

You can find all the dates, times and details by clicking here!

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 dragon, a giant, Martian canals and a mummy.

I love this dragon street art. I had to add contrast to many of these photos, because much of the artwork has been faded by time and weather.

Do you daydream?

I suppose we all do.

What do you dream about?

I dreamed up a short story.

It’s titled The Weed.

It’s a fairy tale, and it isn’t.

It’s about life, growth, and forgetting.

The abrupt climax is sad, and perhaps not unexpected.

If you have an active imagination and a philosophical view of life, you might enjoy reading it here.

Have a great Sunday!

Richard

Comic books and graphic novels in education.

Comic books and graphic novels can be used in schools to stir excitement for reading, and to explore and teach a variety of subjects.

Today a panel of educators shared their thoughts about Words and Pictures Together. The hour-long panel was part of a Will Eisner Week event at the San Diego Comic-Con Museum.

Will Eisner was a pioneering cartoonist and writer whose work both inspired and influenced almost every comic artist that followed him. He practically invented the graphic novel. His amazing artwork is legendary. His stories are often complex, surprising, challenging and philosophical. Not unlike great literature.

The panelists at the Comic-Con Museum yesterday discussed how they have used Eisner’s work and other comics in the classroom.

As I sat in the audience listening, I learned there are many benefits to using certain comic books or graphic novels as educational tools.

Perhaps most importantly, they are accessible to young people. Particularly kids who struggle with reading. Those who resist reading or have limited language skills will often turn the pages of a comic, greedily devouring both words and pictures. After all, most comic books and graphic novels are written to engage and excite.

Another benefit can be the development of critical thinking. There are plots to analyze and characters to understand. Allusions and themes can provide subject matter for discussion. Stories that involve historical events or contemporary issues can open a young mind to interesting ideas and questions.

And there is the graphic art itself. Why did the artist make certain choices? The page layout, typography, style, visual point of view . . .

What I found most inspiring was that students can be encouraged to make their own comic art. To tell their own stories. Express their own thoughts and feelings. When you’re a young person, secretly unsure of many things and trying to figure out life, personal expression can help you grow.

By producing their own comic or graphic novel, students also learn how to plan a creative project and execute it. And they write!

What’s more, the opportunity to show their finished art provides a sense of accomplishment!

The panelists mentioned a few works and web pages that you can use or peruse:

The beloved Owly book series for the very young.

Necessary Trouble Archives.

“testing wally wood’s 22 panels to see if they always work”

Years ago I described how high school students in San Diego were creating their own graphic novel. Their amazing Jasper and the Spirit Skies was launched last year at Comic-Con@Home! You can revisit that past blog post here.

There’s another reason why I found this panel of educators so interesting. Classrooms around the world are reading my short story One Thousand Likes. This small work of fiction (no pictures!) concerns the use of social media and human isolation. Read the story here.

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

Books celebrated at Local Author Showcase!

The 56th Annual Local Author Showcase is presently on display at the San Diego Central Library!

Local writers whose work was published last year are being honored for their hard work and success. Every sort of book is included in the showcase: fiction, nonfiction, biography, autobiography, mystery, science fiction, fantasy, children’s picture books, poetry, music, history, religion, politics, travel guides, self-improvement . . . you name it! And eBooks, too! The authors, young and old, come from every walk of life, and their words all combine to enrich our shared culture and understanding.

I see that in 2021 books came out about Balboa Park, Ted Leitner, Father Joe, and the Padres. And I see a fun book about a visit to the San Diego Library, too!

If you want to learn more about the City of San Diego’s Local Author Program, check out the web page concerning it here.

The Local Author Showcase can be viewed on the ground floor of the downtown Central Library through the end of February.

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!

How to almost touch the stars.

Stars.

I just finished writing another short story. It’s titled The Highest Seat.

This very small work of fiction concerns stars and how one can almost touch them.

The unusual concept behind the story arose from something a friend mentioned. We were talking during my Sunday visit to Balboa Park.

The story is based a little on truth, and much on imagination. If you’re a dreamer, you might like it.

Read it here!

A librarian’s Call to Serve in San Diego.

An inspiring exhibit now on display at the San Diego Central Library is titled Call to Serve: Clara E. Breed & The Japanese American Incarceration. It can be viewed through January 2022 in the Art Gallery on the downtown library’s Ninth Floor.

The exhibit recalls how San Diego librarian Clara E. Breed comforted and advocated for those American citizens of Japanese ancestry who were sent away to internment camps during World War II. She particularly helped and encouraged the children, with whom she kept in communication. Part of the exhibit includes many of her letters.

Clara Breed also fought against the censorship of books, and for a library collection that contained more international and multicultural material, that would speak to readers from diverse backgrounds.

I was touched by Clara’s compassion as I read many of the letters. She clearly had a love for the hundreds of children that she tirelessly championed. Anyone reading her words will be moved.

A replica of a barracks that was used to incarcerate Japanese-Americans during World War II can be viewed on the Central Library’s First Floor, near the main entrance. I blogged about it about a month ago here.

“Military necessity” was the justification for the removal of all persons of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast of the United States…On April 1, 1942, Civilian Exclusion Order No. 4 announced that all persons of Japanese ancestry were to report to Santa Fe Depot…Military guards supervised the transportation fo some 1,150 San Diegans to the Santa Anita Race Track…
“…When the children came to return their books and surrender their cards we gave them stamped postcards. Write to us. We’ll want to know where you are and how you are getting along, and we’ll send you some books to read.” –Clara E. Breed
…I am going to miss you a great deal, as you must know. You have been one of my restorers-of-faith in the human spirit. I know that you will keep your courage and humor in the weeks and days that lie ahead, no matter what they may bring…

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 mystery concerning several very odd things.

An exquisitely beautiful seagull feather on the wet concrete at my feet.

Have you ever encountered a deep mystery whose solution turned out to be obvious?

A mystery like that unfolds in my new short story A Half Dozen Odd Things.

I love to walk around the city, take photographs, make discoveries . . . and occasionally write short fiction.

Do you love to read?

To solve the surprising mystery of A Half Dozen Odd Things, click here!

I hope you have a great Sunday!

Richard