Autumn Goodbyes – creative writing inspired by place


In July, I published a student’s writing inspired by the local landmark Corbett Gardens. This narrative has been re-drafted and captures strong elements of shifting seasons and emotions: perfect for spring sunshine.

Both stories offer opportunities for students to consider how different language features have been used to

  • introduce characters and suggest an emotion
  • describe setting
  • use structure to reveal narrative moments and events
  • include specific cultural references
  • incorporate dialogue

Thinking about the new Area of Study – Discovery, students could also frame questions that allow them to consider different aspects of the rubric. A judicious critique may be helpful in drafting their own imaginative writing for the AoS.

Please enjoy:

Autumn Goodbyes

The cracked stone pathways are once again awash with a desert of colours. All burnt oranges and sun-scorched reds littering the winding walkways in the thousands, their hues almost in remembrance of the too hot summer day swathed in sun and sweat coupled with a hot and heavy taste lingering on the tongue.

Those days, however, were long gone. Their memories being gathered up alongside the silky tendrils of chestnut coloured hair and swept away leaving whispers like promises along the chilly autumn breeze. A breeze which had the unfortunate pleasure of ducking out and under masses of gaunt, spindling limbs. The twisted roots of the encompassing trees echoed the oncoming threat of winter with tortuous branches clawing at a dull grey sky as if asking for a peaceful respite from the martyrdom.

But you, you always find another place to go

Oh you, you always find another womb to grow

To grow

To grow.

The song came unbidden to her, from nowhere she found the words forming and intertwining with a vaguely familiar tune she’d heard somewhere unnameable now.

Probably another dinner party, to be honest.

She found her lips twitching into a gentle curve as she burrowed deeper within her velvet Burberry scarf, hiding as much of her icy skin from the gust as she could. She widened her stride as the feeling in her fingers grew slight, clenching her fists within her pockets to halt the numbness, digging the tips of rich wine-coloured nails into the palm of her hand. Not the first time, she found herself wishing for reprieve from the frosty current.

“Excuse me?!” Bella slowed her pace and glanced fleetingly across the park’s deadening landscape before her eyes rested upon the voice. A petite, pale-skinned, light-haired girl jogged with a spring in her step, bouncing her way to where Bella stood immobile and hunched up against the cold.

“Why hello there.” Chimes. Her voice riddled with chimes and pipes that whistled in the wind accompanied by a soft and fleeting flute melody that could bring entire masses to astounded acclamation.

Bella caught herself and smiled a genuine smile and nodded her head towards the bright-eyed young girl. “Hello. What can I do for you?”

The girl smiled sheepishly and Bella found herself looking into a much younger face. “You wouldn’t have happened to see a phone around would you? I’ve, uhh, misplaced it …” She followed up the question with a tinkering laugh that didn’t at all suit the relaxed and informal nature she was speaking with.

“I’m sorry, I haven’t seen one around, no.”

The girl struggled helplessly and threw a beaming smile before crossing her leather covered arms in an attempt to block a stronger, icier blast that heaved through the trees. “What can you do?” She rolled bright periwinkle eyes and thanked Bella before sprinting off in a vague left direction and disappearing through a hoard of trees.

Bella shook her head and continued on her wander through the garden, letting her gaze fall upon the struggle of a dying spangled hedge and the unnatural state of the flowerbeds devoid of their inhabitants.

An empty theatre.

She stared at the pitiful barren beds and saw a grand concert hall of inky blue and royal purple lacking an audience to commend the dancer’s piece. The wind whistled through the trees, arching their branches in a solemn ballet echoed by the splintering cracks of dying limbs only to receive no message of appreciation from the long gone tulips and blossoms that had left the seats in an impossibly suffocating silence. No colour, no contrast to the dark browns and sky greys that have enveloped the garden in an oppressive blanket.

So the dancers are left in an inescapable solitude for another seemingly endless song that shall only finish when the bright and decorated patrons return to applaud.

A high pitched beeping snatched Bella from her musings. She sighed and turned from the beds, reluctantly plucking her phone from her coat pocket and checking the text she already knew was coming.

You ready? We’re waiting for you.

Bella found herself smiling softly at the screen before swinging around and walking back the way she came.

Yeah, I’m coming. Just saying goodbye.

Striding through the gate, Bella found herself pausing and turning her head.

Once more, she thought. For old time’s sake.

She reached out to graze the rusted railing with her fingertips. “Goodbye”, she murmured.

Never look back.

* image courtesy of – labeled for re-use through Google Images

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