Record your COVID-19 story for the History Center.

Street art spotted during a walk along North Park Way. This masked face looks a bit like a cosmic ice cream cone.

I was looking at the website of the San Diego History Center yesterday when I noticed a cool project they’ve undertaken.

The History Center is looking for San Diego residents to document their personal stories regarding the coronavirus pandemic.

The recorded experiences–in writing, video or audio–will be preserved by the San Diego History Center and become part of their permanent collection. Years from now, when people want to understand what this unusual moment in history was like, they’ll be able to refer back to your own unique story.

Questions you might answer include “How has COVID-19 changed your daily life?” and “How is your neighborhood/social circle responding to the crisis?” and “Has COVID-19 changed your perspective about living in San Diego?”

If this project piques your interest and you have something to say, go to the History Happening Now! website and Share Your Story by clicking here!

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!

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.

A few amusing words in the city.

On a Starbucks chalk board: When you feel Depresso... Have a little Espresso!
On a Starbucks chalk board: When you feel Depresso… Have a little Espresso!

During my walks around the city, I’m always searching for anything unusual.

If you’d like to begin your Friday with a smile, here are a few amusing words and phrases that I recently sighted.

Written on plywood by the sidewalk: Help. Lost! Need help finding my mind. Before it's too late.
Written on plywood by the sidewalk: Help. Lost! Need help finding my mind. Before it’s too late.
In a San Diego Reader newspaper box: Reverse Zonies. (San Diegans would understand this.)
In a San Diego Reader newspaper box: Reverse Zonies. (Most San Diegans can deduce what this means.)
In a window: Nerdy Barber.
In a window: Nerdy Barber.
On a t-shirt in a shop window: Dude, did you eat the last unicorn? No.
On a t-shirt in a shop window: Dude, did you eat the last unicorn? No.

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 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

Blogging during the coronavirus pandemic.

California is now under a stay-at-home order due to the coronavirus pandemic. The streets are almost empty as people remain safely in their homes to slow the rapid spread of COVID-19.

Obviously, this will affect my photography around San Diego. Until the situation improves, I’m going to curtail my outdoor walking, except to grab groceries and perhaps briefly exercise while avoiding close human contact. It’s a terrible situation. But we all need to look out for one another and do our best to minimize the impact of this very nasty virus.

What is an idle photoblogger to do?

Cool San Diego Sights already features thousands of photos–so I’ve decided to pick out past images and add them on a daily basis to my Instagram page, which is instagram.com/coolsandiegophotos.

I’m afraid I haven’t been very active on Instagram, but if you want to be cheered by colorful photos of the city, click the above link and perhaps give me a follow!

In the following days I will also concentrate on writing fiction. I have another short story in progress that concerns gratitude. Hopefully I’ll finish it soon.

To read some short works of thought-provoking fiction, you can click Short Stories by Richard.

Meanwhile, everyone who is reading this take care. We’ll eventually get through this awful situation.

The sun continues to rise.

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!