"Where" Writing - Park Bench in the City

The final chunk of this opening part of the course is “where” writing. There is clearly a lot of overlap with the “when” writing prompts, both situating our objects and characters in time and space to bring the imagery to life. Today’s prompt is a “park bench in the city”. What sensory experience come into your mind?

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I mould into the well of the wooded slatted bench for my lunchtime retreat. A golden plaque, mostly faded, marks a former human-being who “loved to sit in this park”, and I commit to doing the same. A moat of cars encircles this urban escape, their exhaust fumes and impatient honks infiltrating our border of tranquility. Above this deep brass section, a symphony of piccolo pings sporadically entice people toward the latest red dot erupting in their pockets. I carefully unveil my cheaply packaged wrap, making every effort to keep the filling enclosed, with additional precautions in place to stop the napkins frantically taking flight. Pigeons iteratively build the confidence to approach dropped crumbs with gradual advances punctuated by sharp retreats at the slightest human flinch.


Fizzled clouds sail across the sky as sunshine pours like butter through the trees. I bask in these golden rays, listening to the gentle whisper of the breeze. Laughter percolates from the other side of the park, like a stone dropped into a still lake spreading ripples of enthusiasm and light-hearted joy from bench to bench, until the whole park is shaded with such delight so as to pause time itself. I reflect that life has moments of such simple beauty that we must breath in as deeply as we can.


Distant low hums of a construction site mingle with the calls of the wild birds that make this small sanctuary home. The smell of clean air and freshly cut grass is intermittently interrupted by the scent of a stressed office worker trying to calm his senses. Large oak trees line the cracking paths and filter the light to the ground below, giving respite from the heat to the industrial refugees.

The thick exhaust from a bus floods my lungs in welcome respite from the toner and ink atmosphere. A bird has mistaken the back slats for a fee-free port-a-John, and my jacket for ill-timed toilet paper. Sitting here, the sun warms my hands and face, the only exhibitionist parts of my body when in work garb. Wander-bys speak in some foreign language, slightly familiar, but unused since I can’t remember when. Now my speech is all marginalized profits and acronyms I couldn’t define with a gun to my head. There’s a fast food bag shoved underneath, ketchup like the blood of a fresh kill. I create a story of the hunter whose leftovers stagnate and spoil beneath me. I run my fingers along the bag and then under my eyes: sticky warpaint for a battle no one knows about. Inside the bag, mustard and onions become my woad. Clumsily, my half-asleep legs lift me from the bench and point me towards the tomb where I’ll be filed anonymously in some random cubicle, nothing more than ones and zeros in a mainframe’s disarray. Odin’s bird croaks at me, crying freedom. I shun that, with white green smeared across my back and lumpy gold-scarlet lining my face to return to the taste of soulless plastic and my presentation about stagflation that no one cares about. Thank you for my coffee break, Sir Bench. If I survive until tomorrow, may our paths cross again.

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This is great, the visuals are spot on. They way you describe your wrap, I could feel the greasy paper on my hand. Well done.

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This is outstanding. The contagious laughter is an awesome image because the listener can both hear it and internally feel it. Great job!

Wow! this is some nice imagery

well written man!

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agreed! the laughter being like a stone dropped into a lake and spreading like ripples is such nice imagery you can really be in the park with them

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The car’s and phones pinging being heard as a urban symphony is awesome!

Glad you’re back I’ve missed this!

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Really nice imagery Harry, this has percolated joy to me just by reading it!

I really like the thick exhaust from the bus being a respite. This sort of mechanism keeps coming up and there must be a name for it - kind of like @Tofu4’s “coffee as a sedative” - we are inverting the expectation to great effect.

Also, you’ve captured the banal drudgery of the cubicle world well - I really like the imagery of ketchup as the modern warpaint to face the frontier of naughts and ones that we can hardly define anymore.

I really like the metaphor of industrial refugees - maybe the benches could be lifeboats, the city an unfamiliar shoreline where they must integrate into this brave new world.

I feel like we were writing similar scenarios! Ha. One industrial drone and one person basking in the activity at the same place. Good use of visual imagery and auditory stimulation. And the smell of cut grass is easily identifiable. Great job.

I believe the literary term would be verbal irony by way of oxymoron. That’s just my guess. Two ideas that don’t go together being used to build a type of tension and play with expectations.

There’s a translucent haze in every direction. A slowly shifting summer peach light watches me through the trees, while a cozy breeze covers me from head to toe. The sun is a tender lover today, touching her warm lips on my cheeks. I don’t mind at all. My breath is like golden honey being poured without rush. The birds are singing faintly, considerate of my stillness and thoughts. It feels as if I’m melting into the wood, weightless and without worry. Time itself naps nearby under the towering oak.


Beautiful!! This is great! The breeze and the birds and time itself napping is fantastic! This is activating the senses!

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Time goes slow, ticking as my brain searches for dopamine from a smartphone that doesn’t exist yet. My feet sink, quicksand in the grass, as dew crawls into my shoes watering down my socks. A bench, discolored from the elements, tasting of butter lettuce on one side and pistachio on the other, splinters cracked on one side as a warning of what’s to come or a sign of a well-loved seat, summons the aches and pains in my body. A moment of respite I inhale the fresh air, the dew, and slight smell of dog poo. The doors to my eyes shut slowly as I lean back, angled to the left.

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You’ve got some brilliantly descriptive sentences in here, particularly with the discoloured bench. “Splinters” is a great word as it associates us with such strong tactile sensation. The only sense missing is the audible one, but other than that some lovely stuff well done!

I really like the searching the phone for dopamine, that need for immediate satisfaction and escapism. The dew on the grass on your socks is a neat image because it is such a slow build (feeding on the first sentence sense of time). Really good writing.