A lesson I have learned from blogging.

Never stop flying.
Never stop flying.

This coming Sunday, Cool San Diego Sights turns seven years old.

Seven years doing this? Unbelievable.

Starting a blog and watching it grow very, very slowly over many years has taught me an important lesson about life. Patience and perseverance might be the two most important keys to success.

While having fun and doing things that I love–walking and writing–I have spent literally thousands of hours working on Cool San Diego Sights. A good chunk of my life has been spent taking and selecting photos, cropping and adjusting them, doing research, being a detective, plotting out future blogs, making corrections, being obsessive/compulsive, providing updates, pulling out my hair (what’s left of it), periodically wondering if I should quit this sometimes tedious exercise…

And now, to my complete surprise, I find myself getting traffic from Google News, News Break, Chrome’s suggested articles, and a remarkable variety of major websites.

As a result of Cool San Diego Sights’ growing success, one of my other websites, Short Stories by Richard, is being visited by students from classrooms around the world. Most are reading my little story One Thousand Likes, which I’m told might be used in an upcoming twelfth grade textbook produced by one of the world’s most prestigious publishers.

Pinch me.

Is this real?

To think this thing started on a whim. I’ve always walked. I had an unused little camera. I created a simple, easy WordPress blog. I figured I’d post a photo and a few words once in a while.

So if you’re a blogger or writer out there in a ridiculously enormous world that contains billions of web pages, and you’ve begun to wonder if it’s really worth the effort–keep at it! Don’t give up! Do your best! Stay passionate! Write well, be truthful, be original, be creative, be smart, be curious, understand and appeal to your readers’ humanity, and remember to always maintain your sense of humor!

And never lose hope! Because you never know!

Actors read literary works online for TwainFest!

The spirit of Twain lives in this wonderful annual festival.

Do you love reading literature from the 19th century?

I do!

I love Mark Twain, Lewis Carroll, Emily Dickinson, Jules Verne, Charles Dickens, Mary Shelley, Edgar Allan Poe, Henry David Thoreau, Herman Melville . . . there are too many great Victorian authors from this period to mention!

If you love to read these authors, too, there’s an online event in progress that you’ll probably like!

During this special event you can listen to selections from 19th century literature read aloud by San Diego actors!

It’s part of Write Out Loud’s virtual TwainFest, and you can subscribe by clicking here to get daily links to new YouTube readings in your email!

What was the event like before the coronavirus pandemic? To see photos from TwainFest last year in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, click here!

Mark Twain uses his cane to point out his classic novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Many 19th century authors and fictional characters were seen walking about during TwainFest.
Mark Twain uses his cane to point out his classic novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

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!

To read a few stories I’ve written, click Short Stories by Richard.

Free Comic-Con Souvenir Book features Ray Bradbury!

With less than a week to go, Comic-Con International logos have appeared all over the San Diego Convention Center!

One of my favorite authors of all time–perhaps my favorite–is featured in this year’s Comic-Con Souvenir Book!

Ray Bradbury!

The 260-page epic 2020 Comic-Con Souvenir Book pays special tribute to 100 Years of Ray Bradbury. The book, which is jam-packed with articles, plus original artwork by many popular artists, is available for free download at the Comic-Con@Home web page by clicking here!

The free Souvenir Book is in PDF form and has many clickable links, which lead to all sort of cool offers and websites that will interest fans.

I love that the Souvenir Book’s cover and Introduction is: Ray Bradbury, Riding a Dinosaur, on Mars. I suppose that after Ray jumped off his dinosaur, he entered a rocket ship and headed to Earth, and walked right into your home, mind and heart.

Ray Bradbury combined fantasy, science fiction and reality in a way that was so brilliantly poetic and wildly imaginative and thought-provoking that I’m not exactly sure how to describe it. His uninhibited prose breaks through the walls in our mind and exposes regions of truth and wonder we might not otherwise explore.

When I lived in Denver, I attended a speech he made about his writing and his amazing life. That might have been the most inspirational (and fun) talk I’ve ever heard. He was brilliant, enthusiastic, but really just a nice, ordinary guy like you and me. And like you and me he was a big fan. A fan of creativity and pretty much everything in life. He loved both pop culture and fine art, and everything in between.

He wrote popular short stories in the days of pulp fiction magazines. He wrote stories and novels that are now considered literature. He wrote the screenplay for Hollywood classic Moby Dick. His celebrated stories have been turned into numerous television shows and movies. He has been a major influence for generations of writers and dreamers.  He was engaged in too many projects to mention, such as the creation of Disney’s Epcot Center. Even the idea of becoming safely lost in a city, put forth in his essay “The Aesthetics of Lostness,” was used in designing San Diego’s very own Horton Plaza Mall.

Did you know Elton John’s classic song Rocket Man was inspired by Ray Bradbury’s short story “The Rocket Man” in his book The Illustrated Man? (By the way, the story is simply amazing. It’s one of my favorites.)

Ray Bradbury loved and attended comic book conventions, and frequently spoke at San Diego Comic-Con. From the 1970 convention at the U.S. Grant Hotel, to the 2010 event at the San Diego Convention Center, he was a guest at Comic-Con over the course of four decades!

He was a tireless lover of life whose imagination soared into the farthest reaches of the universe and even beyond. His mind never stood still.

If you’re a writer, read his Zen in the Art of Writing to instantly wipe out writer’s block and unleash your full potential. And read all of his short stories again and again. He was a master. Some say he was the greatest writer of the 20th century.

I do a little writing of fiction myself. If you want to read a short story that I’m sure was unconsciously influenced by Ray Bradbury, you might enjoy clicking One Strange, Shimmering Dream.

Ray Bradbury, in my opinion, provided a perfect example of how to lead a full life. He loved people. He loved living. He never stopped dreaming and creating. He loved everything.

Now download the free 2020 Comic-Con Souvenir Book by clicking here and get busy filling your eyeballs with wonderfulness!

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.

Sculpture and mural at San Diego stadium.

Those who’ve attended events at SDCCU/Qualcomm/Jack Murphy/San Diego Stadium might have noticed two works of public art outside. One, situated between the trolley station and stadium, is a sculpture of Jack Murphy and his dog. The other is an enormous, very colorful mural on the back of the scoreboard.

According to a plaque at its base, the Jack Murphy Sculpture, created by San Diego artist A. Wasil, debuted during the rededication of Jack Murphy Field on January 21, 2003.

A. Wasil was a sculptor who became known internationally for his work in cast bronze. He created several major pieces. Many of his sculptures have religious themes, such as the installations at Mission San Luis Rey and Notre Dame University. His bronze bust of Christ was accepted by The Vatican.

His 16 feet tall Jack Murphy Sculpture depicts the San Diego Union sports editor and columnist who advocated for a new San Diego stadium. Jack Murphy influenced Barron Hilton, who would move his Chargers football team from Los Angeles to San Diego. In 1965, a 50,000-seat stadium in Mission Valley was resoundingly approved by San Diego voters. Jack Murphy also helped convince baseball owners to bring the minor league San Diego Padres into the National League. The Padres would play at renamed Jack Murphy Stadium until 2004, when they moved to the new downtown Petco Park.

Given current plans to redevelop land under the old stadium and its enormous parking lot into SDSU West, this historic sculpture might not remain here for long. But who knows?

The sculpted Jack Murphy is accompanied by his Labrador Retriever, Abe.

That huge colorful mural on the back of the stadium’s scoreboard is titled The Fan Game. It was created in 1989-1990 by artist Mario Uribe.

The 13 panel mural measures 45 feet by 150 feet, and depicts excited fans cheering in the stands. The mural is so huge it can be seen from both Interstate 15 and Interstate 8!

Mario Uribe’s fine art has been collected by many museums, and he has created other notable works of public art. Learn more at his website here.

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a phone or small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

To enjoy future posts, you can also “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

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

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!