Small House with the City Inside

by Tim Gilmore, 6/18/2012

This is the house. This house contains a magic like that stone in the wall of a building somewhere in London, the protection of which is the protection of the city of London itself.

The house has been cleaned for company. Candles lit. Beer and wine and bread and salad on the table. It is quiet, cool, and clean. In an hour everyone will be here.

The house is small on the outside, but its interior is much, much larger. It attracts little notice from the street down which few people wander. But inside it goes and goes and goes. And the lives that have been lived here, they too go and go and go.

The house is so much bigger on the inside than the outside that there may be said to be no outside without the inside.

Inside the house, every night, the outside city is written further into being. The city outside is a text composed night after night in the house. Every night the city grows. Every night the city grows inside the house. When the city grows inside the house, it comes into being outside. Every night, inside the house, the city gains streets, a building here and a building there, strange juxtapositions, hidden treasures and throughways.

The text composed each night inside the house is named the city. So the city is a text. So if readers of this text were to walk about and drive around and find the places written within the text, they do so within this text. The inside and outside become reversed. And all that happens in the city outside comes from the text composed each night in the small house with the city inside.

This is the small house with the city inside.

The text does this magical thing. The text takes a mediocre city and writes of it a text named for the city, and the text named for the city then becomes the thing with the city’s name. The city, in turn, is named for the text. Through the text, the mediocre city becomes a magical place. If you take the text and go all about the city finding all the places in the text, the city itself is transformed. The city is the city, yes. But then again, the city is not the city. The city is the text. You can move about inside the text like an orienteer, moving from Springfield to Atlantic Beach to Lackawanna, and you become an urban explorer, a psychogeographical detective. And you too are magical. This mediocre city becomes the city in which readers from all over the world can move about to find the temple, find the house, find the street corner in the text. The whole city is here. All of it comes night by night in the small house with the city inside.

Company arrives soon. Laura and Ryan and Angus and Eliot, Johann and Corrigan, Jason, Dana, Dirk and Deb, and David and Gena and Frida will be here soon and Eva and Jerry. Now you are here at the door with more food.