Books published in San Diego a century ago.

The 57th Annual Local Author Showcase can now be viewed at San Diego’s downtown Central Library.

One of the display cases features books that were published in San Diego a century ago–in the 1920s and 1930s.

When I think of publishing in San Diego, the name Harcourt Brace Jovanovich immediately comes to mind. One of the world’s most important publishers made downtown San Diego their home for many years.

But have you heard of Torrey Pines Press, Hillcrest Publishing Company and the San Diego Printing Company? They and others were producing books in our city a century ago. Even Arrowhead Spring Water Distributors was part of the action!

The San Diego Library maintains a collection of books published or printed in San Diego. It’s called the Wilmer B. Shields Collection. It’s located inside the Marilyn and Gene Marx Special Collections Center on the Central Library’s 9th floor.

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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 planting a tree.

Looking up through the leaves of the live oak trees at blue sky and clouds.

Have you ever planted a tree and realized it will probably outlive you?

That thought occurred to me a couple days ago as I helped to plant a few young oak trees in Balboa Park.

Yesterday, as I sat gazing out at San Diego Bay, I recalled how the larger oak trees in the grove had seemed so very . . . old. How they were bent and cast dark, spidery shadows. And a bittersweet story came to me.

It’s titled Dale’s Tree. There aren’t many words. I published it here.

A short story about a Christmas secret.

The House of England was hoping that Father Christmas would Please Stop Here.

Would you like to read a short Christmas story?

It’s based loosely on a real experience. The story wrote itself today, while I was sitting out in the San Diego sunshine.

The title is A Christmas Secret.

Christmas is about generosity, compassion and good cheer. And that’s what this story is about, too.

To read it, click here!

A story about desire that can’t be fulfilled.

The sky turns red and yellow just before sunrise on Mount Laguna. Photo taken at the Storm Canyon Overlook on the Sunrise Highway.

We all have deep-seated desires that can never be fulfilled. It’s an essential part of being human.

There are horizons that cannot be reached, dreams that cannot be realized. But we keep moving forward through life, in that place where we find ourselves, and we never stop hoping.

I’ve published a short story concerning this. It’s titled A Distant Place.

Writing the story was painful. Those who are thoughtful might enjoy reading it.

You can read this short work of fiction by clicking here.

San Diego students learn to write, recite poetry!

Teachers reading this blog, heads up!

Write Out Loud in San Diego offers several great educational programs that encourage students to thoughtfully read, write, speak and listen!

Yesterday, at the Arts in the Park event in Chula Vista, I learned how students can experience the transformative power of poetry!

Let Your Voice Be Heard is a program of Write Out Loud that provides free poetry writing workshops in schools. Students K-12 are inspired to reach within themselves and express their thoughts and emotions with a poem. Selected works are then displayed in libraries and retail businesses!

Poetry Out Loud is a poetry recitation competition for high school students. This educational program encourages the study of great poetry by offering free educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition for high school students across the country…students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life.

I was told that some teachers, like many students, are bewildered and a bit intimidated by the very idea of poetry. But why? Poetry is simply words flowing from our inner selves. There’s no right or wrong. There’s no need to be exalted or profound. Just be yourself. And, possibly, learn a little more about yourself in the process!

Teachers, please explore all the educational programs offered by Write Out Loud by visiting their website 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!

Mark Twain and friends visit San Diego!

Famous author Mark Twain and several literary friends visited San Diego today. They arrived at Heritage County Park for a very special event.

TwainFest 2022 welcomed some of the world’s most celebrated writers, delighting everyone who attended the outdoor festival. The free, family-friendly event is put on every year by Write Out Loud.

Mark Twain himself greeted visitors who wandered about…

I don’t know whether Twain realized he was standing only a block away from the house where humorist Squibob lived while in San Diego.

When I asked him, Mark Twain wouldn’t clearly acknowledge that he was inspired by Squibob. Historians say he probably was.

But we can all agree Twain’s novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is a classic of American Literature. The esteemed author must’ve been pleased when TwainFest visitors cheerfully whitewashed a fence, much to the consternation of Aunt Polly.

Soon Twain was joined by three other notable writers. Edgar Allan Poe, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and Emily Dickinson.

Yes, a fine summer day filled with imagination–another chapter in our own never-ending stories…

Out of the blue, a friendly Charles Dickens came strolling along through Heritage Park. The author confessed that one of his favorite works was A Christmas Carol.

In another area of the park, the Red Queen of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was playing croquet. I didn’t see Lewis Carroll, but he must’ve been nearby.

In the sunny Author’s Salon, Edgar Allan Poe was talking about his life–what he remembered of it.

Then Poe began his emotional recital of The Raven.

A few steps away, what were these smiling TwainFest visitors observing?

Tinker Bell and Peter Pan!

And that scoundrel, Captain Hook!

And what was going on over here?

Alice, the White Rabbit, the (Mad) Hatter and smiling guests had assembled for a quite unique tea party!

The Dormouse made a surprise appearance at the Mad Tea-Party as well!

And who is this fine fellow over here reading a story about gallant knights and noble acts of chivalry?

Don Quixote! (And his squire Sancho Panza.)

For his first big adventure, Don Quixote encountered a terrifying number of large fearsome giants who looked strangely like windmills…

Thank you, Mr. Twain, for the twinkle in your eye and your timeless humor.

And for bringing so many literary friends to San Diego!

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 a search in the dark.

Back in Middle School, a bunch of classmates and I spent a summer weekend camping on Catalina Island. At the Parsons Landing primitive campground to be exact.

We hiked all over the north part of Catalina and saw bison, cliff dived into the ocean, sat around a campfire, and even went on an afternoon snipe hunt. (We saw bison? That’s correct! A small herd of bison was transported to this Southern California island by Hollywood for the filming of The Thundering Herd, a 1925 silent movie.)

The snipe hunt fascinated me. We headed up one of the trails above the campground searching right and left and occasionally beating a bush with a stick. Everyone knew from the start that the snipes weren’t real, but we all had fun “hunting” them anyway. At least for a little while. I think what made the snipe hunt fun was the shared joke, and the fact that we were heading up a trail that was new to us.

An idea for a short story came to me some time ago, based loosely on that snipe hunt experience. Of course, I changed many elements for my fictional story. It was necessary that I make the setting of the story a dark night.

You’ll see why when you read my new story, The Snipe Hunt, 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!

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

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!

Legacy of Traditional Calligraphy in Balboa Park.

A new exhibition opened a week ago at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park. It’s titled The Legacy of Traditional Calligraphy.

The works on display are curated by Befu Osawa, a Master Calligrapher based in San Diego. The history of Chinese and Japanese scripts is shown, along with Kanji letters that are very seldom seen.

The exquisite art of calligraphy has always fascinated me. Particularly when it’s applied to logograms that visually represent words. With careful applications of ink, the meanings of words and written stories are made visible, and imbued with additional dimension.

As a writer whose alphabetical pen strokes are careless scratches, that skillfully added depth makes me jealous!

If you love calligraphy, head over to the Exhibit Hall at the beautiful Japanese Friendship Garden. This exhibition continues through July 23, 2022.

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!

Poetry transcends perception at Liberty Station.

One seldom observes public art that features poetry. It’s even more rare when the poems are composed by people who are frequently ignored.

Transcending Perception is public art that debuted in Liberty Station back in October, 2020. I hadn’t seen this installation until last weekend, when I walked down a pathway on the east side of THE LOT movie theater.

The images of Transcending Perception, according to the nearby information sign, “were created in a series of workshops that combined theater, poetry, and photography with the intention of ‘returning the gaze’ on both current and historical representations of those who are often excluded or misrepresented in the dominant media…”

This artwork was created by Josemar Gonzalez/Diana Cervera/The AjA Project.

Should you visit Liberty Station in Point Loma, you might want to read these potent words and consider what they mean and why they were written.

We all lead unique lives, with our own experiences and assumptions. It’s enlightening to put yourself in another’s shoes.

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!