Butterflies…

‘Butterflies in your stomach. Butterflies in your stomach.’ It’s such a cliche but it takes experiencing it to understand how true it really is. I take deep breaths and stare down at the salted caramel cookies my Dad bought especially for today. I realise that this is actually happening.

The gentle rocking of the boat isn’t making me feel any better, I keep glancing up the towpath, nervously watching, waiting. I expect to see them any minute. I don’t really know what they look like. All I know, (well, all you’re allowed to know) is that I am being filmed for a casting development project for a mainstream TV channel. A London production company is coming to film me and my life.

This has all happened so fast and, although I’m nervous, I feel an elated anticipation. Suddenly they’re here, carrying a huge camera and looking professional. This is it, Gracie…..this is it……

It all goes so amazingly, I enjoy every minute. Every minute spent giving my opinions on big modern life issues, being interviewed on challenging topics like politics, feminism, social media, materialism, relationships and social care. Every minute talking about my life and the things I’m passionate about, reading poetry and stories in a voice that seems more powerful now there’s someone here especially to hear it. Every minute spent being absolutely myself.

It was intense and my brain whirrs just thinking about it now. But I was in my element, I like a challenge. I like people who value the perspectives of young people on modern society. I loved thinking about the questions and carefully wording my replies. I didn’t find it easy, but I had the opportunity and I wanted to make the most of it.

All in all, I may be accepted to participate in this programme or I may not. I would love to be able to share my thoughts on life even further, but if not, I am just eternally grateful for this experience and I’m proud of myself for making it happen and getting this far.

Please leave me a message in the comments box below, I absolutely love to hear from you all. Thanks! 

Remember Me

Remember me as I was before things changed and took a lifelong pause. Remember the me that was so sure that life could be shaped the me that was pure. Remember me back when we did not think that in a blink things would be so different I did not know what this meant. Remember […]

via Remember Me — Elsie L.M.C

I read this post and just had to share it. It is authored by the wonderful Elsie L.M.C, an inspiring blogger who genuinely cares about others. She wrote this poem about Alzheimer’s, a disease that affects so many of our older generation. It focuses on the fact that we so often judge people on who they are now, caught in an inescapable mess of muddled memories, sometimes unable to communicate or interact with others. But we forget about the person they used to be and still are, deep inside.

Me and my family cared for a 96-year-old gentleman for seven months and he had dementia, so I know what its like. It can be confusing, saddening and frustrating for everyone. But that just makes the moments when he smiled or laughed even more special and joyful. We need to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s, so I have shared Elsie’s post with you today. Please enjoy….

 

The Writer’s Ink Challenge

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Hey guys! I was nominated by the amazing Saanvi @ One Notebook,One Pen And Me for The Writing Ink Challenge. So thanks so much to her!

I am really excited to do this as writing is my main passion in life. As a writer I extremely dislike clichés (anyone else?), but I can honestly say that writing is one thing I couldn’t live without. It is my way of expressing myself and being myself and I can’t imagine not being able to dig into my bank of inspiration and imagination and then into my vocabulary to find the right words to tell a story.

Now, onto the rules:

  • Thank the writer who nominated you (that’s you Saanvi, so much appreciation. It means the world!)
  • Answer the amazing writing-related questions. Cannot wait!
  • Nominate at least five writers/bloggers to do the tag. Warning: I know too many awesome people who would eagerly accept this challenge to nominate only five.

The Questions

When did you first start writing?

In all the photos of me growing up from a baby to a toddler to a kid to the thirteen year old I am now, you can never see my face. Why? Simply because it’s always stuck in a book. My love of words has fuelled my desire to write and I have been writing since I can remember. 

Have you always been interested in writing?

Yes, I have many other interests, but writing is the most important to me. Without it I don’t know what sort of person I’d be, it is so much a part of my personality, it fuels my confidence and it allows me to grow and be myself whilst doing something that feels like magic to me.

Why do you like writing?

My mind is filled with beautiful ideas, with characters good and evil and intriguing. My life is a story, a memory, an echo. I have to let it out onto paper or it will swallow me into its depths. No, I am its master, I will create it and then I will control it, not become a part of it. It is a part of me. 

I hope that makes sense for it is the reason writing is personally incredible for me. I also love it because it means I can share and connect with others, transport them into my world for a fleeting moment. Make them feel how I feel through the character. Show them things perhaps they never saw before.

What genre do you write in?

I think my style is quite unique. I enjoy to weave stories with a lot of emotion. I would say I mainly write realistic, yet creative fiction with poetry mixed in when I feel like it! 

Do you write poetry?

Yup! I love how something so short can be so powerful. I actually started my own campaign combining poetry with changing the world. I’m still looking for new participants so click here to find out more.

Have you ever written a story with a friend?

No, sadly not. I find the idea quite strange actually, it would certainly be a challenge. Has anyone else ever done this? 

How do you write your stories? First tense or second? Past tense or present?

I try to think of what will suit the piece, what will enhance it. I often write in the present tense, it is my go to form. Most of the time I just write what’s in my mind and see where it leads me. Someone once told me never to change tense during a piece of writing. Top tip there! 

Where do you see yourself writing-related in one month? One year? Ten years?

In one month I hope that I will have experienced many more things to write about and add to my ever-lasting bank of ideas. I hope to share many more with you all on this blog too!

In a year, I want to have met many other writers who I will be able to continue my wordy journey with. We’ll advise and support each other and exchange ideas and experiences.

Ten years is a long time to look ahead, but I know I’ll still be writing. Write on forever!!! 

Right, that’s done! Now for my nominees:

Rainbow Girl @ The Fabulous Rainbow Blog

Aqsa @ Aqsa Says What?

Little Helper @ Thoughts In Life

Elsie L.M.C

Emma @ Book Emma

Sumzoe @ The Unshackled Thoughts Of A Dreamer

Mintie Freshie

Adoma @ Girl From Ghana

Grace @ From The Tip Of Grace’s Pen

Grace @ The Girl Upstairs

Mirra @ A Young Writer’s Dream

Okay, I hope all of you guys are able to do the challenge and enjoy it! I also want to remind all you fellow writers of my writing competition that you have until May 1st to enter! Please, please, please submit a piece! I can’t wait to reveal the winners, but first I need more entries from you, wonderful writerly bloggers! Click here now to read more and submit your entry.

Goodbye for now and looking forward to reading all your posts!

Gracie

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Into The Sunset: My Purpose In Life And My Dreams For The Future…

Hi Everyone! There’s something I’ve got to tell you all. In a few weeks, me and my family are setting off into the sunset in our unusual, slightly cramped, but quirky and beautiful Morris Traveller. Some of my readers may be classic vehicle enthusiasts, but for those who aren’t (including me!), a Morris Traveller is a 50-year-old British car.

My Dad converted it into a camper van, affectionately known as Mo,  that will house me and the rest of my crazy family for the next stage of our life. We’re journeyers, literally and figuratively. We’re searching for the way forward, a way to contribute to making a better world, a way to come even closer together, a way to learn and teach, give and take.

Image result for morris traveller camper van

Home Sweet Home!

Being the enthusiastic, maybe a little mad writer that I am, I decided to sit down and write my life’s ambitions on paper. I needed a plan in my head, I needed some sort of map, a way to let my feelings out, be completely and utterly honest about going away and starting a different life.  For me the only way was writing, and I mean serious writing, pages and pages. I sat up long into the night, head bowed over notepad, scribbling furiously until I was happy with it.

 

And I’d like to share bits of it with you guys today.

I’ll start off near the beginning:

I was born a writer, but I always wanted to teach. I love the sense of empowerment and delight that learning gives me, I thrive on it and want to share it with others, even those who find hard and unrewarding. I want to bring out the best in every person I teach.

I’ll have to learn a lot, teaching doesn’t come naturally to me. But I’m willing to work hard, make sacrifices and be determined if it means I can have my school one day. The one I’ve planned for years and years. You wouldn’t believe the amount of excitement and motivation it gives me, just thinking about it.

I don’t know exactly what shape or form the school will take, but I know that people will be central to it. It will be based around a strong, fair and kind community who want to teach the next generation the skills they need to live in the world and make it a better place.

This is all I want, it’s simple really. Just to live in place where I can learn and teach, make a difference in the world and be surrounded by people who care about the planet and each other.

I then go into the future, describing the school that I want so much:

I can hear the sound of laughter getting closer, the kids pile into the large, homey kitchen. The tinkling of water mixes with their joy to create the perfect melody as they wash their hands. I can feel the soft smoothness of dough as I knead and they copy, studying my hands in concentration. They are so eager to get it right, this will be their lunch.

We sit down around the table and I begin to read them a piece of poetry. I taste the words on my tongue, rolling them out into the air, popping each one like a giant gum bubble. Their young faces are filled with wonder and fascination. I tell them to write their own, using the emotions in their bodies to inspire them. They put their heads down and start scribbling.

Some of them take longer, savouring the language they use. Others rush through it, dashing to put on their wellies and run outside into the sunshine.

When they come back in they’re smeared with mud and grass stains and they smell like summer. They’ve been chasing each other around the meadow, foraging some salad ingredients from the hedgerow. They argue over who’s going to tell me about the lamb they saw being born.

We all sit down for lunch. Warm, happy voices and friendly, but passionate debates mingle together, filling my heart with contentment. The pasta is delicious and the children feel so proud of their work.

When darkness falls and they’re in bed or they’ve gone home, I log onto my computer and sign into WordPress. I type furiously, my fingers flying over the keys. I whip up a whirlwind of words that challenge, inspire and inform the reader. I become graciechick, writer, blogger, Light In The Darkness. Changing the world from her desk.

Then I talk about the struggles of leaving everything behind and going out into the world:

I’ve got  friends here, I’ll have to leave them behind. In a way I feel like any other thirteen year old, the idea of having friends over and carrying on all the fun activities is quite tempting. But I want to teach and I’m dedicated to my future.

Going away will be enriching and I’ll experience things I never imagined was possible. I’ll learn from life and learn to teach. I’ll gain the experience and knowledge needed to be a good teacher. I want to quench my thirst for understanding. I’ll meet people who already possess the wisdom needed. I’ll visit places that will inspire me and push me to the limits, but it will all be worth it. I’m working towards that dream of starting my own school and changing the world.

I don’t want to travel forever. When I find a place I feel I belong and an environment where I can grow and flourish, I’ll definitely think about wanting to stay. I’m not one of those people who travels for the sake of travelling, I’m looking for something.

Travelling is brilliant. Every day, every place I go, every person I meet is an opportunity to learn something new, to add to the library of my mind. But friendships can’t really be formed when you’re always moving on. Friends are so important to me, just like they’re central to any kid’s life. I want to able to forge good relationships with people my own age. Of all the things about the lifestyle we are about to adopt and have experienced in the past, the only bad one I can think of is friendships.

I want to be able to have my friends over to stay, to be more independent and to go out with them by myself. I want to be able to laugh and have fun with them and to see them more than once a month.

You could see this as a negative thing, but I can see through that and see the good in it. I’m searching for a place where we, as a family, can find the right friends, like-minded people who’ll join us on our journey through life.

I apologise that this post was so long and I hope that you enjoyed it. Blogging on A Light In The Darkness is extremely important to me and I will never stop writing my thoughts, ideas and stories on this site, although I may not always have an internet connection! So bear with me, good followers, for I will never abandon you.

Goodbye for now and wish me luck!

Gracie 🙂 🙂 🙂

 Do you have ambitions for your life? Can you relate to my dreams and struggles? I always deeply appreciate your comments and feedback, so please don’t hesitate to send me a few words, they always make me smile. 

 

Spreading The Message Of Peace

Today I thought I would share something that I found inspiring. This post was written by my amazing blogging friend Aqsa from Aqsa Says What? Head over to her blog and leave her a comment because her words are completely true. She is a teen trying to make a difference, just like me.

So, without further ado, here is her short, but powerful post:

Hi everyone! Aqsa here, and it’s seriously been a LONG time since I’ve posted a quote rant, so I’ll be posting one today 😊. I hope that this inspires to be positive or motivates you for the day! Keep following your dreams, because I haven’t stopped following mine. Aqsa ❤

via Quote Rant #10 — Aqsa Says What?

Sita Brahmachari’s Beautiful Books

 

I love to write, and to use words to weave a web of stories that reveal facts about our world and about what we can do to change it, but I also love to read. I always have. One of my favourite authors is Sita Brahmachari. She writes about real issues and real life whilst still managing to capture a beautiful novel on the paper.

Two of her books are written in diary form, from the point of view of a young girl from London called Mira Levenson. The first, Artichoke Hearts, is about Mira’s Nana, who is an activist and an artist, but is dying of cancer. It is heart-wrenchingly sad, but messages of hope and love are riddled through it and they lift it up and make it one of the best books I’ve ever read. Sita, the author, also talks about bullying and also about Mira’s relationship with a boy in her class who survived the Rwandan Genocide. I learned so much and it really inspired me to try even harder to make a difference.

Image result for artichoke hearts book

The second is called Jasmine Skies and Mira is older in this book. She is of Indian heritage so she decides to fly half way across the world to discover the culture and customs of the country she knows so little about. She is not prepared for the huge amount of poverty, inequality and human rights abuses she will witness, working at her Aunt’s refuge for street kids she realises what she wants to do with her life. This is a quote from the book:

I’ve seen real poverty and homelessness in London, but it’s not on the same scale. When you see it in pictures you don’t appreciate how extreme the difference between rich and poor can be, though they’re living side by side. I feel a heaviness in my gut that I can’t seem to shake off. Every day here someone is tapping on my conscience and saying “Mira Levenson, this is not fair. What are you going to do about it?” and the truth is I don’t know.

Image result for artichoke hearts book
The last book that I have read is Red Leaves, which I was given for my thirteenth birthday just over a week ago. It is a really intriguing and amazing book. It opened my eyes to so much. Homelessness, war, refugees, divorce, religion, journalism, kids who live in care.
Aisha sought refuge in London from war-torn Somalia when she was ten, traumatised and unable to speak, she was alone in the world and missing her family. Now she’s twelve and she lives with her foster carer. She is starting to feel safe and loved again when her carer suggests that she is adopted by a Somalian family. She feels betrayed and runs away to a nearby wood.
Zak is angry and sad and confused. His parents are divorced, his brother won’t speak to him, his Mother is a journalist in conflict zones. When she goes missing, it’s the final straw. He becomes tangled up in a mess of the past and present. Somehow he stumbles into the wood were Aisha is sheltering.
Iona lives on the streets, with her dog. She’s rude and sarcastic and tough, but underneath she’s hurt. She lies about her age and won’t accept help, but she was the victim of a broken family. She too seeks safety and security in the woods.
Elder is seen as a dotty old homeless woman, a free spirit. But she has a story too. She’s not just crazy. She cares about the children and watches over them as they begin to form friendships, forgive and forget, learn about each other.
Image result for red leaves book
I would recommend any of Sita’s books. Not only do they help you understand the world, they fill you with a desire to make it a better place.
Let me know if you’ve read any of these books or if you’d like to! Has there been a book that you’ve read that has really inspired you? If so, why?

 

 

Tackling Racism With Haikus

A haiku is a Japanese poem consisting of three lines, the first is five syllables, the second is seven and the third is five again, as you can see above. For such a short poem, they have the capacity to be very powerful.

Poetry is a way of using words to express something. Words can change people’s lives and destroy people’s lives, they have so much potential. If only we can use words to beat terrible things that exist in the world, like racism. Words can do more than any amount of fighting, wars and conflict just cause more hate. Words can turn hearts around. We can employ poetry to raise awareness of, and eventually conquer, racism.

Let’s start a campaign called Tackling Racism With Haikus. Come on guys. I think we could do this. We may not be able to wipe racism off of the face of the earth, but I think we can make a change. So everyone who is reading this now, please go and write a haiku in the name of anti-racism. If you have blog, post it on that and ask your followers to write one too. If you like you can reblog this post and raise awareness.

You know, being bloggers, we have a really amazing tool at our disposal. We have A VOICE! So we should use it to do something good and worthwhile. Don’t worry if you’ve never written a poem in your life or if you think you’re not that good. It’s the thought that counts. Let me know in the comments if you’ve written one and I’ll check it out. Also don’t hesitate to ask any questions.

Right, I’ll start.

You don’t understand
how colour doesn’t matter,
it fades in the end……..

 

A Quote From Gracie Chick In A National Newspaper!

On my blog I aspire to write about the world from different angles, in different styles, from different viewpoints and opinions, to challenge and to support, to make a difference through what I love, which is writing.

I am passionate and inquisitive about the world and everything that goes on in it, good and bad, and so are many other kids and young people across the UK.  That’s why a newspaper called First News has been produced, to quench our thirst for an understanding of the things happening on our planet.

It’s brilliant because it really recognises the fact that informing children is extremely important. After all, we are the next generation. It tells me and the other 2 million readers all about politics, the environment, immigration, events, sport, local issues, world issues, interesting stories, crime, interviews, advice and more.

They also have a website, feel free to check it out if you too are someone who wants to know about the world. You can watch daily news bulletins, find out about being a child reporter, enter competitions, have your say in polls, watch videos that explain things like the Refugee Crisis and make a difference. http://live.firstnews.co.uk/

I regularly visit this website and only this morning I found out all about youth courts, gun crimes in America, a plane crash in South America and children making journeys to school and what dangers they face in different parts of the world. You can comment on all the articles they write too and I often do, as I like to express my opinion.

Also this morning I was reading my weekly newspaper when I came across the ‘Quote Bubble’, the place where they put a comment from one of their readers.  I read it with interest, as I saw it was on Donald Trump. But when I saw the author of the comment I couldn’t believe it. It read:

Quote: First News Reader, Gracie, on Donald Trump:
“I think people voted for him because they wanted change. I wonder what sort of change he will bring?!”

A few days before I had written those very words on their website and now they were in the newspaper for everyone to see. I felt so privileged to have my views published like that and so proud that they had seen them interesting and thought-provoking enough to put in.

Thank you First News!