From tiny seeds grow towering things.

I was walking through downtown San Diego this morning, on my way to catch the trolley for work, when I noticed that a store owner had written on their window: A giant sequoia tree is the result of one tiny seed.

As I looked about, the only gigantic things I could find were surrounding buildings.

Then a startling truth occurred to me.

Even the most towering skyscraper is the result of one tiny seed . . . in the human mind.

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!

Discovering new beauty around every corner.

Extraordinary beauty at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park.
Extraordinary beauty at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park.

I believe the world is fundamentally beautiful. Beauty permeates everything. From atoms to galaxies–and everything in between.

Beauty awaits open eyes wherever we happen to walk. Perhaps you’ve noticed this is an important theme of Cool San Diego Sights.

Yesterday I finished writing a short story that is very dark. It concerns ugliness that arises from human vanity. So now I find myself in a difficult situation.

I’d rather not have a depressing story welcome readers to my website Short Stories by Richard. I want to outshine the darkness with light.

A bright, magical story is now taking form under my pen. But finding the right words to approximate eternal truths can be a puzzle. I’m stuck for the moment, wrestling.

All living things require watering. I know that with fresh eyes and a little patience the story will grow and mature.

Until these two new short stories appear, you might enjoy reading my published works of fiction here.

Wind-sculpted rare Torrey pines at Cabrillo National Monument.
Endangered, wind-sculpted Torrey pines at Cabrillo National Monument.
Radiant beauty along a Little Italy sidewalk.
Radiant beauty along a Little Italy sidewalk.
A beautiful fountain in a small Bankers Hill garden. A sculpted boy with watering can.
A beautiful fountain by a sidewalk in Bankers Hill. A sculpted boy with watering can.
Painted sunflowers grow upon a transformer box in Coronado.
Painted sunflowers grow upon a transformer box in Coronado.
Natural beauty discovered in busy downtown San Diego.
Natural beauty discovered in busy downtown San Diego.
More beauty at the Japanese Friendship Garden, a welcoming retreat from life's often stressful complications.
More beauty at the Japanese Friendship Garden, a welcoming retreat from life’s often stressful walk. I think I might go there today with my small notebook and pen.
Moving forward down life's path through wild natural beauty atop Mount Laguna.
Moving forward down life’s path, through wild natural beauty atop Mount Laguna.

US National Beat Poet Laureate 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.
Chris Vannoy, US National Beat Poet Laureate 2018-2019, reads live poetry in the Zoro Garden during the Garden Theatre Festival in Balboa Park.

Tomorrow you have a chance to hear US National Beat Poet Laureate 2018-2019, Chris Vannoy, read live poetry in Balboa Park! He’ll be performing with local poetry group The Mightier P.E.N.S. (Poetic Expeditionary Nation of Semanticists) in the Zoro Garden beginning at 2 pm.

Today during my extensive walk through Balboa Park, I happened to stumble upon this summer’s weekend Garden Theatre Festival. As I entered the stony, amphitheater-like Zoro Garden, live poetry readings were underway. Everyone in the audience was invited up to the microphone to read poetry!

And wouldn’t you know it, I was fortunate to enjoy several readings by Chris Vannoy, who will soon be named the United States Beat Poet Laureate by the National Beat Poetry Foundation!

I’d heard Chris perform with The Mightier P. E. N. S. a couple years ago, and blogged about that event here.

His hard-hitting beat poetry is vivid and resonant. His words are like the many butterflies that flit through the garden–bright sparks in the sunlight–burning red hot for just a moment–each a revelation–a brief glimpse of something elemental. Delicate words, transient words, an incantation of power spoken briefly into the wind.

Congratulations to a local poet whose voice is now magnified! And whose smile appears to be indomitable!

The Garden Theatre Festival continues through Sunday August 19, 2018. Live performances are enjoyed free to the public in Balboa Park's Zoro Garden.
The Garden Theatre Festival continues through Sunday August 19, 2018. Live performances are enjoyed free to the public in Balboa Park’s Zoro Garden.
Chris Vannoy of the local poetry group The Mightier P.E.N.S. expresses thought and emotion with vigorous words as the audience listens and reacts.
Chris Vannoy of the San Diego poetry group The Mightier P.E.N.S. expresses complex thought and emotion with vigorous words as the audience listens and reacts.
Two in the audience listen to powerfully spoken truth.
Two in the audience listen to a poet’s powerfully spoken truth.
Someone in the audience signs up to read a poem. Anybody could participate during the event.
Someone in the audience signs up to read a poem. Anybody could participate during the event.
Chris Vannoy, who will be named US National Beat Poet Laureate in September, finishes and earns enthusiastic applause.
Chris Vannoy, who will be named US National Beat Poet Laureate in September, finishes his reading and earns enthusiastic applause.

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 skeleton in plain sight.

Sometimes I lie awake in the middle of the night, thoughts tumbling through the darkness. Sometimes an uninvited notion enters my skull.

You, too, might share this uncomfortable realization.

I recently published a short story. It’s titled Skeleton Forgiveness.

You can read my very short work of fiction by clicking here.

A story about creativity, truth and deception.

A patient spider waits for flies.
A patient spider waits for flies.

My short story The Taste of Flies has been bothering me. It hasn’t seemed right.

Even after publishing it on Short Stories by Richard, I’ve rewritten many of the words over and over and over again.

I think–possibly–that I now have the thing right. The unusual tale is about creativity, truth and deception. And impulsion. And indecision. It seems to be about a great many difficult things.

You can read the very short story here.

A short story about social media and isolation.

This morning I wrote a short story titled One Thousand Likes. It touches upon the human heart, the pleasure produced by facile happiness, and the dark, isolating effect of social media.

To read it, click here.

Writing short stories in San Diego.

I confess that I have a nefarious scheme. I have a hidden motive behind Cool San Diego Sights.

My wish is to have readers visit Short Stories by Richard. That’s where my short works of fiction are published.

Yes, I enjoy walking all around San Diego taking photographs, but there is something that I love infinitely more: writing creatively. When the muse is present, and my pen is moving, I feel that I can grasp the entire cosmos with one hand. I feel that I can clearly interpret the Ultimate for one brief instant. I have a sense of purpose. I feel completely alive.

My walks by water, past art, through parks, around hills and gardens, down busy sidewalks–my short daily journeys are a source for inspiration. Framing photographs energizes the eyes. Searching in every direction for life helps me to find it.

Writing short stories in San Diego is my passion. Even when my mind is blocked, my eyes and heart are not. There is always plenty of sunshine.

Short Stories by Richard now has thirty nine stories and two small poems. I welcome you into my private scheme. Come peer into secret places.

Public art painted from dark, painful experience.

Smears of red, a flag, two faces.
Smears of red, a flag, two faces.

There are three new works of art on display in the breezeway between the downtown Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and the Santa Fe Depot. These pieces concern disturbing emotions felt by combat veterans, and the ongoing battle of many with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

I believe–but I’m not certain–that the art you see in these photos was produced by military personnel who participate in the museum’s ArtOASIS program. ArtOASIS was created for PTSD patients in conjunction with Combat Arts, a local organization that provides opportunities for combat troops to express themselves.

These images are raw and painful. They are brutally honest. To paint these dark, secret things requires great personal courage.

Someone walks through the breezeway between MCASD and Santa Fe Depot in downtown San Diego.
Someone walks through the breezeway between MCASD and Santa Fe Depot in downtown San Diego.
PTSD. What happens when you get home and realize you will never be this awesome again. Long is the way and hard, that out of Hell leads up to the Light.
PTSD. What happens when you get home and realize you will never be this awesome again. Long is the way and hard, that out of Hell leads up to the light.
A lone figure lies against the wall of Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.
A lone figure lies against the wall of Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.
REAL TALK. Life.
REAL TALK. Life.

I live in downtown San Diego, and walk through the city with my camera. You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter.

A new look for Short Stories by Richard.

As you can see from the above snip, my blog Short Stories by Richard has a brand new look!

I’ve polished many of the stories (and now two poems) to such an extent that I feel comfortable launching a new domain and website.

Are you curious?

Many of these short stories might seem a bit different. Some are happy, some are sad . . . most are a shifting mixture. I try to arrive at essential truths in surprising and creative ways. Human life is illuminated using sudden revelations. All of these works of fiction are very quick reads.

The poem I just published, A Brief Note, sounds dire as you read it. But read to the final two lines.

Anyway, I truly appreciate all of you who follow my adventures in photography–and creative writing! Life is a continuing journey . . .

Richard

A day full of dreaming by the water.

Dreaming together by the sparkling water.
Dreaming together by the sparkling water.

A slow, lazy day. One last November day of unseasonably warm weather. Like many, I had the day off from work.

A quiet stroll along San Diego Bay.

A day for dreaming by the water.

Reflected light is all we see. A dream of light flows from the hand of painter Paul Strahm.
Sitting in sunshine above the water. A dream of light flows from the hand of the always friendly painter Paul Strahm.
The undefinable essence of dreams.
The undefinable essence of dreams.
A vision beyond the reach of a pier.
A vision beyond the reach of a pier.
Light on water invites meditation.
A firm foundation and quiet moment. Light on water invites meditation.
More quiet time by the water.
Time vanishes near the water.
Ripples in a strange reality.
Ripples in a strange reality.
Moving together past a burst of beauty.
Moving together in the walk of life, past a burst of beauty.
Almost like a dream within a dream.
Almost like a dream within a dream.
Enjoying this magic, wonderful life together.
Enjoying this magic, wonderful life together.
Reading words by the tranquil water. Sensing deeper truths.
Reading words by tranquil water. Perhaps sensing deeper truths.
Another day of dreaming by the water.
Another day of dreaming by the shining water.

Today two ideas for short stories came to me like a dream. As I sat on a bench by beautiful San Diego Bay, I penned a few passing words.

I believe the titles will be The Failed Heart and A Dangerous Noise. When these stories feel finished–if that feeling ever comes–I’ll publish them on my writing blog Short Stories by Richard.