Only Child & the Natural
A One Day Conference & Masterclass for
Saturday 12 July | 9.15am-5.30pm
| Marston Vale | Bedfordshire
Buy Pauline Smith's Presentation
'Alone was good. When very little,
I used it for playing in summer in the shallows of the creek, making
bridges and crewing ships with conscript ants; later, I enjoyed
long dreamy walks and telling myself stories based at first on the
free-form stories my father would spin as I followed him around
(Les Murray – from an interview with Pauline Smith, 2007)
This year's conference combined two loves - nature and writing.
For Les Murray, 'alone was good'. For this group of intrepid onlies,
being together meant we could swap notes.
Ann Richardson, Director BeingAnOnly, Psychotherapist
Ann is a UKCP registered psychotherapist and has specialised in
working with only children. She is Founder of BeingAnOnly, has facilitated
many workshops and organised two conferences.
Drawing from her own work, Ann presented an overview
of common only child experiences, highlit resources and research
and talked about the importance of peer validation. She invited
the group to share some of their experiences and feelings about
being an only child to begin the conversation.
Pauline Smith, Freelance Writer and Researcher
Pauline Smith is a freelance writer and researcher, with an MA in
Creative Witing from the University of Exeter. She is an only child
and carried out postgraduate research into how a lack of siblings
affects the output and processes of published authors and poets.
The work also looks at how the only child is portrayed in Western
literature. She currently lives in Northern France.
In a stimulating session, Pauline began by talking
of her own experience of growing up as an only child and the importance
of nature throughout her childhood in North Devon. She went on to
introduce the work of leading Australian poet, Les Murray, whose
emphasis on aloneness, difference and relationship with the natural
world has come from his only-childhood in the Australian outback.
She then invited us to brainstorm our connections with the natural
world and soon the room and the flip chart were full of words and
themes, sounds and feelings.
In the afternoon, some decided to take a walk guided by one of the
Seasonal Rangers. We looked at the different habitats on site, woodland,
wetland and grassland. The Millennium Country Park is very young
in country park terms at only 8 years old, so it was a great time
to see the beginnings and structure of the different habitats. It
is part of a 40 year project which covers over 61 square miles.
The team, has been working to repair decades of industrial use by
improving the landscape and environment. The weather held,
despite some spectacular cloud formations, for our gentle stroll.
A small group took the opportunity to meet and share with each other,
aspects of their own stories with each other. Some were moved to
speak from the exercises of the morning session, others from what
was going on in their lives at the moment.
Some examples of people's work from the afternoon session will be
on the wesbite soon. Pauline was encouraging people to write in
a Haiku form.
Our outdoor barbecue unfortunately had been to be cooked and eaten
inside for fear of being deluged by rain outside. We're not lucky
with BeingAnOnly barbecues. We had the same problem at Earnley!
Pauline was so impressed by the quality of the writing
that there was some discussion about collating the material. Watch
this space for more information on that front.
Pauline Smith's Presentation
Click below and pay online with Paypal
The Power of Being One
Only Child: A Unique Inheritance
1000 Session 1
1130 Session 2
1415 Session 3
'It was a fantastic opportunity for me. I was able not
only to learn about and relate to other onlies but also develop
some skills in poetry writing which is something I have been
long meaning to do. . Oh and not to forget 'sharing' a great lunch
with others and profesionals too - it was fab!'
'I really enjoyed the day and found the discussions
Had a good ponder over things when I got home!'