Words That Burn + Poems About Identity And Two Big Announcements!

As part of my home school curriculum, I am doing a project called Words That Burn. It was launched by Amnesty International and is aimed at teaching young people about human rights, whilst encouraging them in their creative writing, mainly poetry. Learning at its best, in my view.

So, today I wanted to share a poem that we had to analyse in my project. It’s a really powerful and beautiful piece by spoken word artist Dean Atta, on the topic of identity. After that, we had to write our own poem, about our identity.

However, before we go into all of that exciting stuff, I have an important announcement to make! 🙂 You can now go vote for the nominees in Megan’s Part 1 of the Best Of 2017 Blogging Awards! I am literally jumping up and down right now because I WAS NOMINATED IN TWO CATEGORIES! Wow, I never expected that.  Anyway, go vote! And good luck! *proceeds to dance around the room*

Okay, so coming back to the poem. I present, I Come From by Dean Atta.

I come from shepherd’s pie and Sunday roast
Jerk chicken and stuffed vine leaves
I come from travelling through my taste buds but loving where I live

I come from a home that some would call broken
I come from D.I.Y. that never got done
I come from waiting by the phone for him to call

I come from waving the white flag to loneliness
I come from the rainbow flag and the union jack
I come from a British passport and an ever-ready suitcase

I come from jet fuel and fresh coconut water
I come from crossing oceans to find myself
I come from deep issues and shallow solutions

I come from a limited vocabulary but an unrestricted imagination
I come from a decent education and a marvellous mother
I come from being given permission to dream but choosing to wake up instead

I come from wherever I lay my head
I come from unanswered questions and unread books
Unnoticed effort and undelivered apologies and thanks

I come from who I trust and who I have left
I come from last year and last year and I don’t notice how I’ve changed
I come from looking in the mirror and looking online to find myself

I come from stories, myths, legends and folk tales
I come from lullabies and pop songs, Hip Hop and poetry
I come from griots, grandmothers and her-story tellers

I come from published words and strangers’ smiles
I come from my own pen but I see people torn apart like paper
Each a story or poem that never made it into a book.

I just love love love some of the lines in this, they’re so poignant. “waving the white flag to loneliness” “crossing oceans to find myself” “being given permission to dream, but choosing to wake up instead” I could go on and on and on. Seriously

Now comes the challenging part. I had to write a poem like his: an I come from….. poem. So I sat down and made a list of the things that have shaped my identity and then crafted them into this poem.

I Come From by Gracie Chick

I come from words springing from emptiness,

I come from the pages of a book, 

I come from misty mornings in my mind and conversations long into the night,

I come from the flames of a candle and the glowing embers of a campfire

I come from struggles and determination and an overwhelming desire for true friendship. 

I come from missing the sunrise and waiting all day for it to set.

I come from craving beauty in a world I want to change, 

I come from tears and discontentment, 

I come from dreaming big

I come from two amazing hearts that never lose faith. 

I come from wanting more than black and white

I come from music that no one else hears and stories that no one else sees,

or writes.

I come from a river of ink and a land of where the honey is too sticky and sweet and the milk soured long ago.

Hope that made sense to you guys! Now, the big question is……

Where do you come from???

Please answer in the comments, debating is more than welcome!

And now, time for the second big announcement. Some of you might remember reading my discussion post on makeup a few weeks ago. If so, you’ll probably recall that I included a section detailing the thoughts of many different teens throughout the blogosphere. The result was amazing and everyone really got into the discussion element of it. So, I was thinking I’d make this a regular thing. If you’re interested in contributing your opinions to these future discussion posts, please drop me an email at graciechick29@gmail.com

Then, whenever I need your thoughts, I’ll send out an email (probably monthly) and you can reply with your contributions. This is aimed mainly at teens, but if you’re older or younger and would still like to participate, feel free. Also, if you sign up, you don’t have to participate very time. If you’re ever too busy or just don’t want to contribute that’s totally fine.  Hoping to see lots of interest in this!

What did you think of Dean Atta’s Poem? What about mine? Complete this sentence: I come from…

Are you going to sign up to give your opinions in my future discussion posts?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Extracts From My Journal + The Best Of 2017 Blog Awards Have Arrived Again (Yay!!!)

30th November 2017

It’s a proven scientific fact that any energy that keeps getting larger and larger will eventually explode. For example, friction will  eventually burst into flames. Well, there’s friction in my mind right now.

My Mum called it emotional turmoil, my Dad called it being lost, but I think friction is a good word at the moment. I’ve already burst into flames a few times, the energy always seems to die down, simmer quietly for a little while and then begin to build up until, you guessed it, I explode again with emotion again. Most of the time I don’t even know what causes all of these feelings. 

I need to look towards my future, focus on the positives that lie ahead and stop clinging onto the negatives of the here and the now. Being sad and discontent never made anyone’s life better, I’ve got to take action. 

2nd December 2017

Today I went to see Wonder at the cinema. As the scenes from my favourite book flashed past my eyes, I immersed myself in the story, rediscovering the powerful themes that run through it. Many of them are relevant to my life right now – being different, going to school, fitting in, standing out, real friendships, finding your place in this world, staying true to who you are. 

In all of the characters that I’ve known and loved for so long, I suddenly saw myself. When I read the book (and I must have read it 100 times, no kidding) I am an observer in Auggie, Via, Miranda, Jack Will, Julian, Summer, Justin and everyone else’s lives. However, watching the movie made me see their story in a different light. I felt like I was there, I was part of it.

I was Via, struggling with friendships. I was Miranda, just trying to fit in with the crowd, wanting to be liked. I was Summer, trying to be a good friend and Jack Will, trying but not always succeeding.There are no words for how much I loved this movie and how much of an impact it had on me. 
4th December 2017

I went to my teen yoga class today. Although I’m not flexible enough to do half of the poses I still love it. It’s amazing for relaxation, concentration, exercise and the releasing of stress. 

My yoga teacher, Luna, says that in yoga thoughts are like clouds, we let them drift by without holding onto them. You go into your body and just observe your mind. It makes you less anxious and stressed plus it helps you concentrate on your thoughts and make more sense of them. This was great for me, for someone who’s brain is especially active and often anxious, it helped me chill out and bring things into perspective. </

In other news from the life of Gracie Chick, my prize for when I cam runner-up in a poetry competition arrived. I received a certificate and a small bundle of writing supplies (a notepad, two pencils, one pen and a bookmark). Exciting! 🙂 


I’ve also been really into cooking with foraged goodies. This time of year is brilliant for wild food and I’ve been making the most of the abundance of it on the farm where I live. 

</I made this delicious lunch for my family, it’s a chickweed and lettuce salad with a berry vinegar dressing and crumbled parmesan on toast. It was SO good. 

</A yummy snack of roasted burdock root chips sprinkled with sesame seeds. Okay, I hope you enjoyed that little peek into my life at the moment. I felt like doing an update and I wanted to be honest.<Now, I have an exciting announcement to make ~ Megan is hosting the Best Of 2017 Blogging Awards for the third year in a row! By taking the survey now, you can vote for all the amazing blogs and posts out there that you’ve particularly loved. So, what are you waiting for? Go VOTE!

What’s going on in your life at the moment? Don’t be afraid of honesty, I often am and it never makes you feel better when you bottle it up. You can send me an email if you feel like talking. 🙂 🙂 🙂 Oh, and will you vote in the Best Of 2017 Blogging Awards? 

‘Gracie’s School’ Q and A Post + An Exciting Blogging Announcement

In my last post I introduced to you to my very own school, students and classroom. I shared my happiness at being able to fulfill my dream and making it happen through my own determination.  I  also asked you to submit your questions for my school themed Q and A. Well, many of you had lots to ask so read on…and enjoy!

Questions from Mukta:

When and how did you realize you wanted to be a teacher?

I’ve always loved learning and, to me, nothing sounds more like paradise than a place where young people can gather together to learn and share and pursue their passions.

School, and the modern education system, are supposed to provide that service, but I don’t believe they are. The majority of my generation view school as a negative place, a prison, something they’re forced to attend. School should be a place everyone wants to go to.

I am home-educated and the above is precisely the reason I don’t go to school. The reason I decided to become a teacher is because I want to create the school that I dream of, the school I want to go to.

What time do you begin/end teaching?

Nothing is set in stone yet, at the moment I’m being pretty flexible. Usually we start at about 10am and finish about 4pm??? 😀😀😀

Questions from Loren:

When you start a real school, will you want it to be elementary, middle, or high school?

I hope that my school will be a place where kids and teens of all ages can come together and learn. I want it to be an environment where they help and teach each other. I am from the UK so I’m not exactly that familiar with the US education system, we say ‘Primary’ and ‘Secondary’ schools here!

Questions from Melissa:

Are your pupils allowed to direct any of your teaching and follow their own interests or are you quite strict in following your lesson plans?

There needs to be a balance. I do make lesson plans (which I try to stick to), but if I see that my students are interested in or enthusiastic about a particular subject, I’m more than happy to focus on it. I also welcome my students suggestions and ideas. I have certain parts in each lesson where I ask one of my students to lead the activity and I just watch. It teaches them teamwork, leadership and creativity, all equally important lessons!

Questions from The Girl With IronWings

Are you guys going to travel around the farm place and learn things practically or…..?

Yeah, I guess so. It’s important to include a bit of reading, writing, maths and theoretical science, but most of the activities we do are outdoors, hands on and practical. I find that my students learn better when out and about on the farm. For example, we went fishing in the stream and then identified and learnt about what we caught. They loved it! Way more than reading about the affect humans have on natural habitats! 😀 I bet they remembered more of the former too.

How is the teaching going to be – How different from today’s schools? 😊

Hehe. I would say it’s pretty different. Here’s a quick list.

  • All different ages and abilities taught together.
  • We learn about things that are important in life, like knowing and appreciating your surroundings and how to protect them. 
  • The learning (and teaching!) is FUN!!!
  • I try and think about what suits my students individually, what they need help with and what their strengths are. I keep that in mind when making my lesson plans, unlike school with its ‘one size fits all’ attitude.

Also, since it’s about the environment will you be using gadgets?

We have a few gadgets… a camera trap that we’ve used to try and capture the secret lives of wildlife on the farm. We don’t use a lot of technology, just the internet to research things and find information.

Questions from Misabella :

What is your favourite subject to teach?

I’m about to start doing a book club + English and creative writing classes. I don’t enjoy maths very much, just because I teach out of a book and have to follow a set system/curriculum. These ‘environment’ lessons are great, I get to be creative and come up with fun, unique ideas that really engage my students. 😁

Do you find particular methods of discipline more effective than others?

I’ve googled the different ‘methods of discipline’ and would say my style is a mix of them all! I do try to set boundaries, but I also try and be positive and humorous. I wouldn’t say I’m strict, I try to be patient and listen to my students – although that is something I struggle with. I think this is an area I need to look into a bit more – especially if I want to be a successful teacher!

Questions from Tom:

How long do you hope to be keeping up with this school for?

Well, we’re living at the farm over the autumn, winter and early spring so the lessons will probably continue through those seasons. After that my family and I are off on our travels, maybe into Europe, maybe even further, searching for a place to settle down and call home. When we find that place I have no doubt that my school will re-establish itself and begin again, stronger and better than before. 

School is an interesting word, I wonder if it’s Greek?

Well, thanks to your research, Tom, we now know that it is a Greek word meaning ‘lecture place’. It would have looked like this in its original text: skholḗ or σχολή. Great fact! 

 I hope you all enjoyed that little Q and A! I loved sharing my thoughts and ideas on education, I even learnt a few interesting things in the process. If anyone still has any questions, please feel free to comment them and I’ll try to answer.

Okay, now I have an exciting and important announcement to make: I am getting some newly designed features on A Light In The Darkness soon! Not saying anything more, but watch out for a post revealing those. This is me at the moment: 🤐☺☺☺🤐 

Xxx

Dwelling On The Darkness

 

Dear All,

Things have happened in this past week and they’ve made me realise a lot. I started this blog to be ‘a light in the darkness’ and I’ve become consumed by the very thing I’m fighting. I’ve been dwelling on the darkness, and that doesn’t make any difference to the world. Nothing is changed unless you’re positive and hopeful. Unless you actually take action. 

Blogging is a beautiful, beautiful thing with so much potential, but for me it’s turned into a part of the darkness. It’s taken over my life, meaning I haven’t been getting out there and actually living a life that makes me ‘a light’.

My Mum wrote this in my notepad:

“It’s the life you lead that makes you a light, not your awareness of the darkness”

She’s right.

I’m going to write more about my own life, things I’ve done and thought, things that I hope will inspire others. I believe that getting young people talking about things that matter is extremely important, but our world needs action too.

Signing off…..

Gracie ❤️❤️❤

 

The Perfectly Imperfect Tag ~ A Guest Post By Aqsa!

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Today I am honoured to host the creation of an inspiring new tag by my amazing blogging friend Aqsa . *fanfare* I asked her if she wanted to do a guest post and she came up with something as brilliant as this. Totally typical. Anyways, it is with great pleasure that I share with you The Perfectly Imperfect Tag! Here’s the link to it on Aqsa’s blog:

via The Perfectly Imperfect Tag: My Blogging Campaign/Featured Guest Post! – Aqsa Says What? — Aqsa Says What?

Expect my participation within the near future!

Wishing this tag the best of luck! Hope it spreads all around the blogosphere…..!

‘Snapshot’ (A Guest-Poem)

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The poem is a little special to me, you see, because, after years of writing, I wrote about how things are in my country, how reality has nothing to do but to lie there with glazed eyes, because everyone is waiting, and just waiting some more, for a change. It’s like walking through honey, and change is bitter and hard work; most people here simply curse it. The few who risk a try get trapped in this spider web of lethargy. Time stills. No one moves. Everything stays the same and hypocrisy prevails. 

These words are a perfect introduction to a stunning poem that I am about to share with you all. The author is Flaw Rainlight  Here is how she describes herself:

Hey there! I’m Flaw Rainlight and often write under the name of T. E. Pyrus. I live in the company of five wonderful cats and writing is a passion. I also learn and love classical dance and music. 

When I first tried my hand at writing, I was about six years old, exploring Dr. Seuss and R. L. Stevenson. That was probably soon after realized my love and awe of books, the way they preserve dreams and lives of people, real and imaginary, for decades and centuries. 

I remember thinking at one point, when I was bothered by the lack of fun things to read on a short vacation with my parents, that if I couldn’t find things to read, why couldn’t try writing them? 

And thus, my imagination, fueled first by boredom, and later by curiosity, passion and a desire to challenge myself further, spilled into little rhymes and incomplete stories. (I’m still mortified that my mother keeps a firm hold on those notebook pages of childish rambling.)

Eventually, encouraged and supported lovingly by friends, family and absolute strangers, I decided to bring my work out into this scary outside world. I began to explore spoken word and set up this blog as a medium to reach out to people like you, who care about writing, and write about caring. After all, thinkers and writers unfurl from the burning fire within to love the world and everything in it, and to witness its evolution that many simply walk past without another glance.

Wow. She certainly I’d talented. Here is her wonderfully deep and meaningful piece:
SNAPSHOT’
 Curiosity stares through tinted glasses
at railway tracks that glint darker in the sun;
the house crow that pecks on the ties in between
looks only slightly greyer than its shadow.
The diesel smoke and incense mist
lie faintly over red painted benches
that infrequently decorate the station platform.
Glass doored cabinets in miniature stalls
hold jars of hard candy, myriad pan filling
and sugared tamarind sweets to charm the mouth,
brightly coloured foil packets of biscuits and sweetened milk cake
lie sulking on the icebox, liberally filled
with ice cream and badam milk, mishti doi and lassi,
chilled soda in orange, brown, and green,
sealed bottles of water for people to please.
People and more people with stranger clothes and faces
scurry and stumble, then scramble and hurry
up the overbridge and down to platform number four
with sari and suitcase, toddler with a missing shoe.
Cartons of fresh iced fish to be sold a thousand miles away
settle comfortably on the floor of the parcel compartment,
painted blue, like all the thirty and one passenger coaches
tailing the rusty red engine that punctuates the chaos
with sleepy sighs and anxious whistles.
Footsteps and wheels run briskly here,
yet time runs ever slowly still
in rhythm with the ceaseless chant –
“cha~i coffee! co~ffee chai! cha~i coffee!…”

Beautiful Ideas + Determined Bloggers = One Word: Change (An Equation That Can Mean Only One Thing: Another Blogging Project)

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I told you we’d celebrate with something special, didn’t I? Something fun and light-hearted, yet still staying true to the purpose of A Light In The Darkness?

I had a bit of a dilemma, but I really hope that you guys like what I’ve chosen. My blogging project A Passion For The World seemed to inspire so many people to think about how they could use the things they love to change the world. I saw the power of this creative project, the joy and the purpose it gave all my blogging friends. I want to give you another opportunity to feel this way. So……….

Without further ado, I present my NEW blogging project: Beautiful Ideas + Determined Bloggers = One Word: Change 

Here are the steps you follow, it’s simple.

  • Sign up for the project by emailing me at graciechick29@gmail.com If you like, you can invite a couple of other bloggers to participate by sharing the links to their blogs with me.

 

  • I will assign pairs, based in which bloggers I think will work well together.

 

  • You must then collaborate to come up with a campaign idea for using blogging to change the world. Note: if you don’t want to be in direct contact with other bloggers then I suggest you don’t sign up for this. Unless you can think of another way to do it…?

 

  • You can then present your campaign idea to me and I will launch the winning ones on my blog!

Tip:  They can be interactive (like an award) or they can be raising awareness of something, let your imagination flow like a waterfall…..!

I hope this gets you excited and inspired!

Now, there were a few of you who wanted a blog party and, I must admit, it sounds pretty fun. So gone on, leave a comment and join the party! Tell us about yourself, chat and interact, visit new blogs, have fun and SMILE!

 

300 Followers (Looking Back On My Blogging Journey)

Thank you. I actually can’t say much more. I may be a writer, but there are some times where these two simple words are the best way to express my gratitude. Every single heartfelt, genuine, inspiring comment you leave, every follow, every like, has made this blog what it is today.

I honestly wish I could give a shout out to every single one of you who’s made my journey unique and beautiful to be on. But there are hundreds of you and I cannot possibly reach out to you all, but even by you reading this now, it is making my day.

So, thank you.

Sitting here now, I wonder if I’ve achieved any of those crazily ambitious hopes I had when I began blogging? Have I really made any difference to anyone’s life? Have I become A Light In The Darkness, like I desperately wanted to? Have I been honest with myself?

Maybe not. I don’t know. I feel tinges of sadness, yet I’ve enjoyed every minute of this journey, every step. It’s opened up so many doors, given me amazing opportunities and I’ve made the best friends ever.

I’d like to celebrate in some way. If you can think of anything particularly special that ties in with the theme of this blog, please let me know. I thought maybe we could have a blog party? Or I could launch another blogging project? It’s absolutely up to you, my readers. I’m giving you the choice. Comment below.

I’m worried that I haven’t always been myself on here and one of my goals is to be totally me. I am naturally a serious person, but I’m young and I need to have some fun sometimes. Be more light-hearted. I hide in my computer, reading, writing, thinking. I never think about how it affects my family and those who love me. I feel the same way about this blog.

Being A Light In The Darkness isn’t about being articulate and serious all the time, it’s about being fun and spreading sunshine.

I promise there’ll be more of that!

See you all later, talk soon and thank you from the bottom of my heart. ♥️♥️♥️

Lots of love,

Xxx 

 

Why Does It Matter?*

*Warning: If you do not wish to enter the mind of a crazy, philosophical, teenage writer with BIG questions and even more BIG ideas, a burning desire to make a difference and passion and determination like you’ve never seen before, I suggest you turn back now. If you are even remotely interested/intrigued, please read on…!
“People were created to be loved. Things were created to be used. The reason why the world is in chaos is because things are being loved and people are being used.” 

One simple statement. Why would my opinion matter? Why would your opinion matter? Why would anyone want to know what anyone else thought? Those are the questions I’m asking. In this world, which is almost as crazy as the one in existence within my mind, it doesn’t seem to matter what anyone else thinks or cares about.

Our world is very muddled up at the moment, everything seems to be in political and moral chaos. As someone who is aware of current affairs, I see all the hate, confusion, greed, anger, bitterness, prejudice, my list could go on. It makes me feel helpless, but with a great responsibility, as the next generation, to replace these with peace, trust and light. But, I do believe in deeds not words, we must take action.

Sorry about this jumble of words, I usually try to articulate myself carefully, but today I just had to be honest and pour everything out. So yeah, apologies.

Please get in touch through the comments, I’m sure everyone has equally crazy ideas and thoughts. I wonder what YOU all think? Let me know….! 

 

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!