About WayWords™

WayWords make writing seem like abstract painting, like actors doing improv, like a whirlwind of words. They can make sense or nonsense, maybe senselessly careening like an out-of-control car. They defy 3D time, because with them everything happens at once. Such are WayWords, a completely improvisational writing technique and a new form of prose poetry.

Here’s how they work. I choose a word to play with and, like a seasoned musician or free-spirited painter, let it take off. I start there and continue unbounded, unconfined by concept or convention except for that chosen word. I come at the word extemporaneously from all the angles I can conjure, using random terms to illustrate it like freeform notes from a clarinet or an artist’s expressive brushstrokes. Some pieces take an hour or two; others I’ve started and finished on a short plane ride. 

WayWords are reflexive, instinctual . . . revelatory like a puzzle you can solve today. They occur by happenstance, with inspired viewpoints and marvelous departures. These pieces begin as unedited streams of thought—done in the time it takes to write them down. They occur off the cuff, like the musicians’ notes in the sessions of my OJO album. They are brainstorms, improvised and not calculated.

Viince Bell about WayWords

WayWords are easy; you don’t need a degree to write them. They don’t cost any money, but a good one is like a jewel on your lapel. WayWords are about knowing where you’re going—having confidence that you know what you’re doing and what you’re talking about. 

WayWords are make-believe. If you use your imagination, they’ll bring your dreams to life, describing them all without limitations. In WayWords, pigs really do fly and you are tall, dark, handsome, and fast as the wind. In WayWords, you have an answer for illness, hardship, or loneliness. In WayWords, you’re over the top—the wisest in the land, for as far as you can see or as long as you can hold your breath. 

WayWords bestow the freedom to use any writing tools you’ve learned to write themes that mean what you say. You say what you want, and, by making no stand, everything you say means something you might not know till you write it! In WayWords, you’re first in line, at the head of your class. (Although, for WayWords, there are no classes). In WayWords, you’re invisible, turning knobs and watching gauges behind a curtain like the Wizard of Oz. 

You see, it’s hard to get a writer to write. If it were easy, then writers would have nothing to hinder their unruly little brains. All writers are intimidated about something: they’re not rich enough, distinguished enough, grammatical enough. So they feel as if they can’t write, though sometimes they can. Then, when the writing flows, it might just make sense to the coveted reader or listener. Win win. 

To write WayWords means you were paying attention, you were interested enough to find out, you weren’t afraid to notice whatever it was you might be writing about today. No thinking, no worries, no indecision. It’s like an arrow from a bow, no hesitation or doubt. No good way, no bad way, no high, low, or in-between, no right way, no wrong way . . .  just letting the imagery flow from your head to the tips of your fingers as fast as you can. 

You can write about love, about work, about Mom, about someone else’s mom, about the weather, about the state of the world. WayWords are a surprise, a novelty. They’re like hard work already done, lifetimes ago. WayWords flow from your experience. They rush like a river, gather like a cloud, run like a horse, stop on a dime. WayWords fly like birds, stand like soldiers, or swim through reefs like schools of fish. 

Vince Bell in Silver City

WayWords enhance understanding. With them, you can travel far and remember what you saw. WayWords employ your knowledge of the whirling world, using your own language to tell a tale you don’t even know till you write it, till you put in the commas, periods, and paragraphs. Before I started writing WayWords, I only wrote about “my summer vacation,” only wrote about one subject at a time. Now I write about everything I’ve ever known.

WayWords won’t bore you, won’t scold you, won’t let you down. They won’t judge or criticize you, and won’t stop you from saying whatever you please. WayWords are a revelation, an exotic destination you can go to at will. If you never write WayWords, you won’t know the thrill, won’t have the satisfaction, might never know the ease and adventure of improvisational writing.

WayWords will save you, will make it up to you, will make you wealthy between your ears. WayWords will let you be the boss, will give you awe at the beauty of your own thoughts, will (as on The Outer Limits) return command of your set to you so that you control the horizontal and the vertical. WayWords are unpredictable because they’re not on a timer. They can’t be late like your homework.

WayWords can be over the rainbow or right here, right now. They can be over in a moment, but on again whenever you please. WayWords are slick like Elvis, remote like a desert island, high as the stars, quick as a hiccup, wide as an ocean, deep as an underground military base. WayWords are ephemeral like Brigadoon. They’re the nineteenth hole on a golf course.

But WayWords are simple, unrehearsed, off the cuff, and maybe off the deep end. WayWords are immediate, unpredictable, undetermined. WayWords are powerful magic. Whoever writes them is the spring from which the waters flow, a well from which the thirsty can drink, the hat from which the rabbit leaps, the axis on which a whole world turns.

As I said, it’s hard to get a writer to write. So along come WayWords to offer writers an unstructured place from which to speak, letting them change their mind and admit to their likes and preferences. WayWords are freedom, capability, wordplay. It’s relaxing to put them together because they have no rules. WayWords don’t keep score, don’t take names, don’t play favorites, don’t even care if they make sense.

WayWords talk about everything at once. The words aren’t written in response to any assignment, and they’re not necessarily organized. They’re not in a straight line, not apologetic, and not imperatively literary. They are not the only way to say anything. Not necessarily. And there can be a new word every day. They’re welcome to be whatever they’ll be. These pieces move fast; they don’t suffer a lot of pause. They’re not terribly thematic individually, being so variable in topic. You’ll figure it out. Then you’ll understand as much, or as little, as I do.

Sometimes the words will fall on you like rain, or gather like clouds, or waft around like leaves. They might simmer like beans in a pot, assemble like children on a playground, or huddle like women on a volleyball team. You might find that they cluster like a crowd of well-wishers, grate like sand between your toes, or ascend like hot-air balloons. 

WayWords are suggestive, emotive, and free to be whatever you want. They bring new perspectives, novel ideas whose time has come. They don’t have to make sense in a literal way like a cellphone manual. It’s not necessary to follow a clear story line in order to elicit maximum interest from listeners.

For would-be WayWords writers, the prompts are everywhere, like in a box of cereal—a surprise in every box. Sometimes the words will come in backwards, like gibberish. Sometimes they’ll come in on top of each other, and sometimes they won’t come in at all. But hear them for what they say. Like water that won’t be constrained, the words can’t be held back for long before the dike springs a leak. Rest assured: when the dam is long forgotten, the words, like the water, will still be there.

Click here to read some WayWords™ examples.