"Each of us writers, I have found, is obsessed with the personal equation and, however successfully he or she camouflages it, is surreptitiously pushing a world view." 'The Writer's Commitment', Claribel Alegria, Map of Hope, Penguin.

I don't think I am particularly surreptitious about it, I believe a life without joy and hope is a bleak one, a life without sorrow and despair is an unexplored one. It amazes me how many people wish to avoid the shadows and think that by pretending to do so, the shadows will disappear - even those who seek counselling or those who say they wish to be writers.

Light and shade, light and shade runs through all good writing. From the shade we see the light with greater clarity and after the coolness we feel the warmth all the more. The trick is not to get stuck in either for too long, but find fluidity in moving from one to the other. And to a certain extent it is a trick which we can learn. I find writing can sometimes help me to step from one to the other with greater ease and at my choosing.

At Wednesday's workshop we listened to Benjamin Zephaniah's Rong Radio Station and then did some free writing around the subject of lists. I found myself being taken into a playful place:

A litany of ls in a list. Franz Liszt was a composer. He wrote love letters, unlocking a liquid lust in alarming lamé, which overflowed Lent, that period of abstinence lost in today's culture of consumption.

Even here my world view sneaked in.