Smiles and creativity at North Park Book Fair!

The first annual (hopefully) North Park Book Fair was held today!

Book lovers, authors, poets, artists, and everyone and anyone who loves reading, writing and creativity showed up for the two block long festival!

As you can see from the upcoming photos, North Park Way between 29th Street and Ray Street was absolutely alive!

At first I just wandered past the booths, trying to absorb it all, amazed by everything that I saw. Then I figured I’d blog about the event and began to record smiles!

Read the photo captions to learn more about what I discovered…

Not only was there live painting, local authors and small presses, but one could enjoy poetry readings, storytelling for kids, and perusing thousands of books for sale! And food, too!
When I reported the street was packed, I wasn’t kidding!
A friendly North Park Main Street volunteer smiles for a pic. Thanks for the great event!
The San Diego Public Library had tables full of used books for sale.
Friends of the San Diego Public Library smile! I’ve purchased oodles of used books at the Central Library over the years.
I almost bought this book about San Diego. I have too much to read, already.
Kids could draw fun comic panels at the Little Fish Comic Book Studio booth.
Keithan Jones of KID Comics smiles. Look at all the cool independent comic book art he created!
He did this great Wonder Woman sketch!
I listened for a while as poets presented their words to the gathered crowd.
Live poetry at the North Park Book Fair! This animated poet received big applause!
A smile from an Accidental Aliens writer!
Smiles from two Accidental Aliens artists!
Beatrice Zamora wrote award-winning children’s book The Spirit of Chicano Park. She’ll be dancing at the big Danza event at Chicano Park tomorrow!
Book, books, books everywhere!
Armando Elizarraras created some very cool artwork based on portraits of famous authors. Check out his tattooed Edgar Allan Poe with The Tell-Tale Heart!
MORE. LESS. etc. Three sequential books by artist, author and poet Ted Washington! Can poems include mathematical formulas?
The folks of Write Out Loud were at the North Park Book Fair, presenting this fun, fishy Kamishibai street theatre story!
Book fair goers could indicate with chalk the place where they most like to read…
In bed, on the toilet, by the pool, at the beach, with a cat . . . or anyplace!
The smile of superhero creator @boypoetic!
Tamra L. Dempsey took photographs for the beautiful book A Journey Through Literary America! It includes literary passages by famous authors.
One smile and one semi-smile. It’s all good. Keep on creating!
Cynthia Diamond wrote all these Wyrd Love books. I remembered seeing her years ago at a big Liberty Station book event!
Douglas W. Mengers wrote a book about San Diego Trolleys. I learned some interesting history when we chatted.
This book contains lots of old images of rail transportation in San Diego.
Lots to see and do at the North Park Book Fair!

Love of reading on a library bookmobile!

Yesterday I enjoyed a long walk in Poway. As I explored the area near Old Poway Park, I happened upon a San Diego County Library bookmobile. I took these photos.

I love how this bookmobile features painted images of diverse people reading, devouring the written word. Gaining knowledge. Activating limitless human imagination.

My own love of reading has only grown stronger with time. Experience has shown me that books are like windows that can be opened to previously undiscovered truths. They enrich one’s inner life.

When I saw the image of the boy pushing books in a cart, I had to smile. In middle school I worked as a page at a library shelving books. I can still picture that library–each room and each wonderful section.

One cool thing about being a library page was I could determine which books were showcased at the end of the shelves. There were so many fascinating titles, so many beautiful covers.

I could choose from a whole world at my fingertips.

Back when I was a kid pushing carts full of returned library books, I had no idea that one day my own fiction would be read by people everywhere around the world. And that my short story, One Thousand Likes, would be included in a textbook by a major international publisher.

Much like a book, the pages of a life turn and strange surprises await!

To read my stories, click Short Stories by Richard.

A special song celebrates beautiful Coronado.

There’s a special, very beautifully written song that celebrates Coronado. The song, which has become beloved by many over the years, was written by composer and Coronado resident Joan Brown Goldberg, who passed away in early 2020.

I learned about The Coronado Song yesterday in Encinitas of all places. I was outside the old 19th century schoolhouse, lingering after a historical walking tour of Encinitas, when I approached a pianist who was playing among nearby vendors at a small crafts event.

The musician, whom you can see in my photos, is Famous Frank. He told me about Joan Brown Goldberg and how he’d played The Coronado Song during a music festival at the Emerald C Gallery a couple years ago. He described The Coronado Song as the unofficial theme song of Coronado.

I did a little searching, and discovered here that “…For a time the song with piano accompaniment was sold around town and at the Hotel del Coronado.”

I also found here that Joan Brown Goldberg “…was a talented composer, writing over 40 songs. Her most recognized work was ‘The Coronado Song,’ which won several international contests. The song was played before the annual Coronado July 4th Parade at the grandstand for 20 years.”

You can see some of the sheet music here.

I love the poetry and feeling in her lyrics. I’ve transcribed the words for the enjoyment of all.

THE CORONADO SONG

Music and Lyrics by Joan Brown Goldberg

Coronado, where the sun shines
Where the grand Hotel meets the sea
And the crashing waves
Will set you ablaze
And launch you into a dream.

Coronado, little island,
With skies as blue as can be
I long to walk on your tanned
California sand
And sit by your sparkling sea.

I miss your cold windy days
That grey winter haze
And fog horns blowin’ all night

Your summer perfume
Of jasmine in bloom
Your seaside seagulls in flight.

Coronado, on a sea breeze,
You know you’re haunting me so.
You are the Queen of the Coast
You’re the mariner’s host
And the most lovely Lady I know!

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 life, death and laughter.

I’ve published another very short work of fiction. This piece is titled The Fight. It’s about living and dying . . . and laughter.

Perhaps you’ll enjoy this little story. It includes life experiences that are relatable.

Getting this simple story to work has been a struggle. I published The Fight prematurely a couple weeks ago, then pulled it down. A tale about life and death should be written carefully.

And laughter is a serious matter, too!

Now I hope I have things about right.

Read the story here!

A poet, a didgeridoo, and Balboa Park.

I spent a couple hours today with my friend Mitchell. He plays didgeridoo in Balboa Park.

We went on a walk and got lunch at the Japanese Tea Pavilion. Then I listened for a while to his extraordinary pulsating music.

During the concert a traveling poet came by, watched and listened.

After I said goodbye to Mitchell and began down El Prado, I came upon the poet sitting at a small table before his manual typewriter.

His name is Ben Bernthal. He will write an original poem based on words passersby give him. I gave him the word “didgeridoo.”

What I received was an exceptional piece of poetry and a friendly chat.

After I headed off on my way, it occurred to me that Balboa Park is one enormous, colorful poem. In the way every life is a sort of poem.

Visit Ben Bernthal’s website and learn more about a really great writer by clicking here. You can request a poem online. He will type the poem on high quality paper and mail it to you!

Better yet, if you’re in San Diego, look for him sitting at his typewriter in Balboa Park . . . before life’s grand adventure turns him elsewhere.

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!

An odd little story about dreams.

Looking roughly northeast as color creeps over the desert below.

A moment ago I published an odd little story. It concerns the nature of dreams.

This tiny work of fiction is titled Their Dream.

Sometimes it seems the world we live in is one never-ending dream. An implausible dream that has somehow turned real.

Read my strange, humorous story by clicking here and decide for yourself!

Meanwhile, have a great weekend!

Richard

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.