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?

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘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

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 

 

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! 

Poppa

 

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The next part of our adventure takes place in Kent. Currently we are living in a house here, taking care of a good friend’s 95 year old father.

We are looking after Poppa, as everyone calls him, in his own home on Romney Marsh.

It’s a lot of work looking after Poppa and a lot of it my parents have to do, but I am Chief Tea Maker and I do bake a lot of cakes and puddings for him, as he does have a very sweet tooth. He’s a lot of fun to be around and everyone loves him.

It’s funny, but exciting for us to live in a 3 bedroom house, seeing as we’ve only ever lived in tiny houses and, just recently, in the back of a car!

We have our own room, me, my brother and sister, and we look out of our window in the morning across the flat marsh with sheep grazing in the sunrise. It’s beautiful.

I’ve set up my own little corner on the landing with a table and a chair. I’m right next to a window again and the view looks like a painting. I have my stack of books and my writing stuff. And, of course, a tin of biscuits! It’s blissful.

This morning Poppa did some Homeschooling with us. He seemed to be enjoying himself. He made everyone laugh by playing Irys’ recorder!

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Looking after Pops is a pleasure for us.

We always said that if someone’s in need of help we would make it part of our journey to help them and we are.

 

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A good student

Quotes

Seeing as I wrote a post about inspiration a few days ago. I thought I’d put on some inspirational quotes today. *smiles* I love quotes, to me they’re a sort of poetry. I think quotes are a brilliant way of using words.

q4

 

q1

q

q3

Inspiration

inspire2

Sometimes I’m out and about and I have a brilliantly creative idea. I kick myself ’cause my pencil and pad is at home. Then it’s gone. The idea flickers, burns and dies within just a few seconds. I still remember it sometimes, but somehow it doesn’t seem so good.

Then I go home and pick up my pad and pencil. The blank, white sheet stares at me, the lines that run across it are like prison bars. Like the words inside my mind are trapped. Someone who isn’t  writer wouldn’t understand this, but it’s sort of depressing. Seeing that blank sheet and not having any words to decorate it. This is my struggle.

I’m sure all writers go through this. But the thing is you must push through it. You must just write and let inspiration guide you when it can. Stephen King said: Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work. Sometimes you have to go out and look for things, it’s like everything in life, it won’t always come to you.

inspire1

Perfectly sums up what I’m trying to say about finding inspiration.

But still spontaneous inspiration is wonderful. It shows the absolute beauty of your mind.

Inspiration strikes at unexpected times. Roald Dhal admitted that sometimes he used lipstick and a sweet wrapper to record some idea he’d had. I think a decent writer has to find the balance between using spontaneous inspiration and finding inspiration themselves.

What are your thoughts on inspiration? Please let me know.

Inspiration concept crumpled paper light bulb metaphor for good

Love this.

Off To A Flying Start

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I am about to describe one of the best experiences of my life.

It all started off like an ordinary day, we were going for a picnic with some friends, it was beautifully sunny and, yeah, everything seemed normal.

About an hour before we were going to leave Dad told us that, yes, we were going for a picnic, but we were doing something else first. I was intrigued, as I’m sure you are now. Dad revealed, after a while, that we were going flying in a plane!

Our friend built his own plane, which he flies quite regularly from an airfield near Lewes. He often flies over our house and sometimes we wave. He had offered before to take us up, but I never thought it would happen. Now it was.

A strange feeling crept up inside me, I was utterly excited and a bit nervous, as I’d never been in any sort of plane or flying machine. I’m sure my stomach flipped when Dad said the words “flying in Dave’s plane”.

I’d always fantasize about flying high up in an aeroplane. I’d dream about it too, but then I’d wake up because I couldn’t really picture what it would be like.

The plane is called a Streak Shadow and it seats two people. It was amazing to think that Dave built it all by himself. My sister went first, then me.

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Irys coming in to land

I clambered into the cramped cabin and sat down. I had to undergo a safety check where I was shown how to undo the seatbelt in an emergency and how to open the hatch. I had to wear headphones with a speaker to communicate during flight.

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Then we were ready for takeoff. Dave, the pilot, spoke into the radio to tell them that we were departing. Pilots talk in a sort of code with coordinating words and long series of numbers. I learnt that you never say the words ‘take off’ unless you are actually about to take off.

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Dad and the Streak Shadow

You should always try to take off into the wind when in a plane. Sometimes there is what is called a crosswind, where the wind blows across, not down the runway. There was a slight one today, but we looked at the windsock and judged the best direction to go in.

Soon we were racing down the runway at almost 150mph. Then we were in the air. Gradually we gained height until we were 2000ft above the earth. We slowed to about 80mph. Finally, I had the chance to get a proper look at the ground below. Immediately, I thought of my Granny’s dolls house! Everything was miniature. The sheep in the fields looked like ants and the fields themselves stretched away into the distance like a patchwork quilt with hedge stitching.

Because the plane was so small and light, you felt every little, tiny movement. Every jerk and every lurch, and every gust of wind.

Dave took me on a tour of the area, pointing out the sights. Then we flew over and saw the coastline. I was absolutely loving it.

Then Dave asked me if I’d like to have a go at using the controls. I said, over the intercom, that I definitely would. He showed me how everything worked and I had to use the joystick, which is the steering instrument.

Right is right, left is left, forward is down, backwards is up. What I didn’t realise is that only tiny jiggles are needed. I pushed forward really hard and we literally plunged downwards. That was very, very, very scary.

After a while I got the hang of it. Dave put his hands on his head to prove that I really was flying the plane alone. I practised picking a point on the horizon and steering towards it, keeping it in the centre of the dashboard.

The landing was a little nerve-wracking since we came in at a weird angle due to the crosswind.My whole flight in one word: exhilarating.

At the end of the day, I received a Young Aviators Certificate. It was brilliant.

I would like to thank Dave for giving us such an awesome experience. He was so willing to teach us and share with us, we really loved that. He also taught us a lesson in generosity. I hope that other people will be like this as we journey through life.

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So happy!

Staff And Rachel’s Wedding

Staff and Rach

Staff and Rach

We were invited to our friends, Staff and Rachel’s, wedding. It was a lovely day, everything was perfect, exactly how they’d wanted it.

The whole room fell silent, I remember the silence ringing in my ears. Only the fairy lights twinkled from their places entwined over the wooden boughs of the ceiling. The atmosphere was expectant and people turned to look at the little doorway through which the bride would enter, causing a rustling of fascinators.

The curtain was drawn and the guests drew in their breaths, a bridesmaid stood there quietly.  She wore a navy blue dress and reminded me of an ancient greek goddess. Clinging onto her hand was little Charlotte.  She was wearing a white dress and the hair on her head was curled into sweet, wispy curls.  People smiled as she walked by, swinging a little wand of willow.  The next bridesmaid walked quickly and I could hear the hard clack clack of her heels on the shiny floor.  Her dress swayed softly as she went, her head bowed, her hands clasped together.

The curtain was drawn again and I looked over to Anna who was pulling a bow across the violin she held. Her eyes were closed and a smile much like the Mona Lisa’s played on her lips. Secretive, but happy, as if only she knew the secret to making such heavenly sounds. The music rose and fell. I turned back round to see the curtains opening.

Through the tiny gap, rapidly widening, I saw a swish of ivory. I watched as, slowly, a beautiful bride appeared. Her Father stood beside her, he was proud and smiling. She looked straight ahead to her future husband, a gentle happiness and eagerness in her face. Rachel’s dress was stunning. Dainty lace, a woven web of tiny flowers and leaves, covered her chest and arms. Silky ivory folds cascaded down her body and swirled around her feet, like a waterfall into a whirlpool.

She took her first few graceful steps. She held her head high, her golden hair pinned up. She reminded me of a swan, the way she glided down the aisle, her snowy train trailing behind her.

Staff stood waiting, his expression emotional, his eyes full of love and adoration. For a few moments all they saw was each other. Until the celebrant broke their trance.

Everyone present there that day could not help but be mesmerised by the sight of Rachel meeting her groom. They held hands and looked at each other with such fondness that it brought a wide smile to every guest’s face.

Photos!

Rachel and her Dad

Rachel and her Dad

 

Outside taking wedding photos. Staff and Rachel, Staff's parents in background.

Outside taking wedding photos. Staff and Rachel, Staff’s parents in background.

Beautiful!

Beautiful!

Staff making his speech

Staff making his speech

 

 

 

All dressed up

All dressed up

Me, Evan and Irys

Me, Evan and Irys

 

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Lavender biscuits

Lavender biscuits

 

I thought this was really cool

I thought this was really cool

These showed us where to sit. Aren't they lovely?

These showed us where to sit. Aren’t they lovely?

Irys looking pretty

Irys looking pretty

Evan wearing a proper tie for the first time!

Evan wearing a proper tie for the first time!

Selfie with Dad

Selfie with Dad

 

Selfie with Irys and Mum

Selfie with Irys and Mum

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mum and Dad in the photo booth

Mum and Dad in the photo booth

All having fun in the photo booth

All having fun in the photo booth

Dancing with Charlotte in after the ceremony.

Dancing with Charlotte  after the ceremony.

Pose!

Pose!

The delicious wedding cake. Four layers: red velvet, victoria sponge, chocolate and lemon drizzle. WE ate this whilst dancing along to a energetic folk band!

The delicious wedding cake. Four layers: red velvet, victoria sponge, chocolate and lemon drizzle. We ate this whilst dancing along to an energetic folk band!