A story about a strange, bright world.

You might remember a few photographs I took of buildings reflected in puddles. I posted those last month, after downtown San Diego had experienced a night of rain.

Looking into those silver puddles was almost like peering into a strange, bright world just beyond our own. To see those photos again, you can click here.

Well, during my walk among those magic puddles a seed was planted.

That seed germinated, grew, broke through, has blossomed.

If you’d like to read my newly completed short story, which I titled The Shining World, click here.

A teddy bear and a broken heart.

I saw this on Sunday. Valentine’s Day.

I was walking past a bus stop in North Park when my attention was arrested by a large teddy bear. The bear was sitting alone at the end of the bench. I looked around. Absolutely nobody was nearby.

I had to pause to take in this strange sight. Then it occurred to me: either this cute, very loveable teddy bear had been accidentally left behind, or it had been left there intentionally.

Either scenario meant heartbreak.

It’s one small story in the city that you and I will never know.

What made my discovery really weird–almost eerie–is that for weeks I had been working on a short story concerning a similar teddy bear on the streets of a city.

Even though the story is very short, it had persistently troubled me. I knew it had potential. But I couldn’t seem to get it right.

Seeing that mysterious bear inspired me to work on the story with renewed purpose.

I published The Teddy Bear yesterday. Since then I’ve made a number of changes. But I think it might be finished. It remains painful. Like many of my little stories it has a surprise ending.

If you’d like, you can read it 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!

Two short stories about Christmas.

A bit later, Santa and Mrs. Claus read The Night Before Christmas to gathered children and the young-at-heart.

Would you like to read two very short stories about Christmas?

Both works of fiction might touch your heart.

The first short story is titled A Wise Man. It concerns how we all can become jaded over the years, and how one seemingly ordinary moment can renew our appreciation of life’s preciousness and beauty. Read it here.

The second short story is titled An Encounter With Santa Claus. It’s about the spirit of Christmas. About unselfishness, not rampant materialism. Read it here.

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 short story about a paintbrush and magic.

Anyone could participate in painting a small square in this large mural!

It has been months since I promoted my blog Short Stories by Richard, but I just now published a new short story titled Father’s Paintbrush, and I think some readers might enjoy it.

Like several other stories I’ve written, it has a surprising O. Henry-like ending!

If you’re interested, you can read this small work of fiction about life, learning and magic by clicking here.

I have more photographs taken yesterday at Presidio Park coming up, so stay tuned!

Where will I walk today? I haven’t decided!

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!