York, England, the United Kingdom
It can often feel as though you are drowning in York. Partly this is because it floods so often – the sinister-sounding rivers Ouse and Foss rise and fall rapidly, and a complex system of defences prevent the city centre being overwhelmed. But you can also feel as though you are drowning beneath the waves of history here, since everywhere you look there is some reminder of how ancient this city is – the city walls, the monolithic York Minster cathedral, the ruin of Clifford’s Tower (the site of a massacre of 150 local Jews in one of the worst pogroms in English medieval history). Whenever something new is built here, they discover something old. A new bridge was built over the river once, and archaeologists discovered the remains of two older bridges on the same site. Everything here is in layers. Everything you walk on here is on top of something ancient and ruined.
I don’t normally write about Place. Approaching this project was quite a challenge for me, given that my writing is usually insular and preoccupied with isolation. Here I had to turn my style of writing towards this city, and to somehow reflect it, when up to now I have been voicing the alienation and despair of people alone in small apartments, rapidly going mad.
York isn’t a particularly dark or menacing place. It’s actually rather bourgeois, which is probably why I enjoyed twisting its imagery so much, transforming this place from a city into a cadaver.
So much history.
So much ruin.
So many buried piles of bones.
You can paint over it with a veneer of gentile suburban politeness. But you can’t mask the smell.
From York in England,
Note from editor: Kenny Mooney is the Fiction Editor of A-Minor Press, and has work in or forthcoming in >kill author, Metazen, and Housefire. He is (as of 3.27.13) working on a novel called Desk Clerk, and seeking publication for his recently completed novella, The Gift Garden.
The journal is on it’s way to Alex Cox in Glasgow, Scotland.