Spent the day writing about small towns. At buzz.mn I was reading about a town called Vernon Center, and it sounded like such a curious and dull name. Made up something about the Vernonites, a “religious sect that was persecuted for their beliefs, specifically their belief in persecution.” It made me think of all the hundreds of small towns in Minnesota, and how each seemed to have a small, earnest, lousy website. I put up a different town each hour, and enjoyed it so much it’ll be a weekly feature at buzz.mn 2.0, which will be called – well, no. Wait.

As someone who doesn’t have to live in a small town, I have the usual nostalgia and romantic notions. I can cure myself of these ideas  if I consider the drawbacks, but there are advantages I dismiss simply because I don’t need them, or consider them as such. If you’ve spent all your life in a big city – and I haven’t – you have no idea of the absolute indifferent vacancy of three PM on an early March Tuesday in a downtown that can barely fill both sides of the street. Things change slowly, and the past is always there – not a living, breathing past, but like a rock pushed this far by a glacier, and no farther. Then the snow starts. You head inside to the drug store, the only place downtown that does any business, really, aside from the VFW, if you count pull-tabs as business – and head back to get a prescription filled. It’s the new fellow, the nice man who came here six years ago, and probably knows what troubles everyone by now. You pass the rack of paperbacks, the ceramic knick-knacks displayed on a glass shelf (you knew someone from church who used to work here, and she had to dust those things every other day. She died, what, ten years ago now? Her kids are all down in the Cities) and walk to the back, where it says DRUGS in these big white letters that look like, oh, old-time letters, you guess. They changed all this years ago, must have been the seventies. You had to come here and get something filled for your mother when she had the caratacts, and they made the whole place up to date, but they haven’t done anything since. Although you supposed it’s all computers back there now.

I thought of that – really, all of it, just like that!  - when I saw this picture of Aitkin. Used to drive through there from time to time, and I’d stop into the drug store to see someone I knew who worked there, and remind myself of the futility of long-distance crushes.

Today’s Minneapolis addition is another hotel – the DYCKMAN. I like this site, mostly because the pictures have incredible detail. Like this:

Like most pictures of cities, you forget that every object you see was placed there by human hands. Every shoe, every brick, every tile. Keeping that in mind, let's back out:

I have to know more about this building - I've never seen anything with windows like that in any old photo of a Mpls structure.

You can see the entire site here. And that’s it for today – Oh, I'd do more, but I'm elbow deep in novel writing these days. See you over at buzz.mn. And there's the Twitter nattering. Have a fine day!