Have you ever had a favourite word? One that transports you to another world, or another place?
Mine is Gossamer.
Not only does it roll beautifully off the tongue, but it conjures images of a dew-laden cobweb glistening like a multi-faceted jewel in the early morning light.
Or (and here my inner child skips forward) a vision of fairies, trailing delicate patterns of quicksilver as they dart in and out of moonbeams on a warm summer's evening.
The world around me fades away, and I'm transported elsewhere.
Words are magic. And like a conjurer, writers use word-sorcery to paint pictures of what only our minds can see.
Did you know that the ancient Anglo-Saxon word for storyteller was Wordsmith?
As valuable as blacksmith or swordsmith, storytellers - or Bards, as they were known (that's writers in today's language) - were regarded as craftsmen and believed to weave words together to create magic.
From a peasant's lonely hut to the great halls of kings, ancient bards would open their Wordhoard - collection of words they'd committed to memory - and spin tales of great heroes, like Beowulf the monster slayer, St George and the dragon, or local tales they'd heard in their travels re-imagined and recited to a new audience.
In the dead of winter, people gathered together around the welcoming warmth of a fire in their chief's great hall to listen to the bard, as an icy wind piled snowdrifts outside.
How easily they could hear the cry of a monster in the howling wind beyond the safety of their timbered hall's walls as the bard told the story of the evil dragon Grendel; of goblins that stole children in the night; of elves and water sprites that beckoned to the unwary, dragging them down to a watery grave.
Have I conjured up images in your mind?
Then I've done my job.
I'm a wordsmith.