27.8.13

Ten Marlys Cityscape Columns We'll Never Get to Read

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[The notebook.]
A few months ago, I found myself walking around 50th and France, as per my usual routine on a Thursday evening in the summertime. (OK, I'll tell you a secret: I had to return something to Talbot's.) 

As always when I wander, my eyes were firmly glued to the sidewalk. I was happily counting the cracks, which is easy in Edina because all the sidewalks are flawless, when I happened across this little notebook laying on the polished Italianate marble paving stones. 

I bent down to pick it up, and started paging through it. Lo and behold, it belonged to Marlys Harris, Cityscape columnist for Minnpost. What luck! Imagine my fortune! 

As a dedicated Twin Cities urbanist, I am perhaps her biggest fan. She has been writing the bi-weekly column on cities for Minnpost, easily our best online news source made by people who no longer work at newspapers. And their urban planning beat is a "must read."

Over the year, it's hard to choose which Marlys column is my favorite. 

Some of my personal highlights:


Anyway, you get the idea. There's a lot of gold to mine through.


Now, the journal was a bit stuffed, chock full of notes, diagrams, and ideas. I felt a bit guilty clutching it in my hands, and I looked desperately around the Edina sidewalk for someone to give it to. Alas, nobody met my longing gaze. I wasn't dressed right. My shirt lacked a collar. I had no sunglasses. Once again, I was alone.

At first I tried to give it back. I called Minnpost, and left messages for Marlys. I tried to go to the office, but it was a false address. I waited outside her house for days, for weeks, looking in vain for the woman in the tastefully-done author sketch.

When the officer handed me the restraining order, I decided to give up my quest. I would keep the notebook, keep it safe and secure, never divulging, warding away those who would foist it from my grasp. I promised myself to never let its secrets see the light of day. 

"Someday," I thought to myself... Someday Marlys will use these ideas and I will have kept them safe. The future was certain, and it was bright. Until then I would guard them like a statue, eternal and staid.

That is, until today. This morning I learned that Marlys is stepping down from her Cityscape column, and I hardly know what to do. My world is shattered. Where will I turn? Who will I

I apologize. My hands slipped from a keyboard made too slippery by my tears. It hardly matters now. I might as well toss this notebook in the trash. Or, maybe I'll just put it online. 

Yes, that's what I'll do. At the very beginning of the notebook, there was a neat list of ideas for future columns. 

Here they are, future Marlys columns we'll never get to read:
Downtown has tall buildings
Can you hear the sound of one plant growing? Gardening becoming a trend in Minneapolis
Not In My Backyard! Some residents nervous about change
Is surface parking the best use for downtown land?
Mass transit: an alternative to the automobile
Hut… Hut... Tax Hike! Big sports stadiums may not pay for themselves after all
YUPPIES attack: Young people and old people have different desires, opinions
Land use zoning still working after all these years
Traffic traffic traffic!
What’s that white stripe on the road? It’s a bike lane!

Then there were some squiggles that I couldn’t decipher… a whole bunch of phone numbers... drawings of a squirrel (it seemed like the same one over and over)... 428 digits of pi... and a couple haiku.

There you go, world. I have spilled my secrets. I have burned the notebook. Nothing can console me. I have failed.

I will miss you, Marlys. Wherever you are. 

[Sunset on Lake Calhoun.]


PS. Of course, I kid. While still occasionally misfiring, Marlys' column got a lot better over the fifteen months she was writing it. Best of luck, Marlys!

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