Creative Play

I haven’t used my Dragon speech recognition software for a couple of days, and I need the practice. So here I am, talking to you.

Oh, who am I trying to kid — I really just wanted to play with my new toy!

It’s funny, I got this software so I could work on my books since I am not doing anything right now except healing, but I haven’t been working on my books at all. My current book is one about a grieving woman during the first couple of months after her husband died, and it’s rather a painful story. The problem is that to continue writing the tale, I have to reread it to see where I am, and I haven’t felt like going back through all that agony. I did do one thing to forward the progress on the book — I sent it to the woman who encouraged me to write it so she could read it and tell me what she thinks, and she loved it. So that’s good to know. Actually I lied — I did do one other thing to further the story. I decided to leave the ending ambiguous, just hinting at where she might go and what she might do, because after all, at two months after the death of her husband she would have no clue who she will become. I’m still not sure who or what I’m going to become, so how is that newly bereft woman supposed to know anything about what her life is going to be?

In the end, I guess you can say I’ve been writing. If typing is considered writing, and now if speaking can be considered writing, then why can’t thinking be writing also? (This is what we writers do: find ways to convince ourselves we are working when we are not.)

As for my life. That’s going about as well as my writing, which is to say not much of anywhere. Dance classes started for the year yesterday, and I didn’t go. I’m not supposed to do anything that strenuous until I get the external fixator off my arm. Instead, I stayed in my room and played with watercolors. I am no artist. Not even any inclination to be an artist. But somebody gave me the watercolors and I figured I should at least attempt to use them. Luckily, the paper she sent with the paints is postcard size, just large enough to balance the frustration of not knowing what I am doing with the fun of doing something. A large sheet would be way too frustrating for me, though if I had copious paints rather than the small watercolor set, it might be fun splashing paint on a larger page.

The weather was also nice enough for me to take a walk today, which always makes me feel at least somewhat alive.

And now I am playing with my incredible Dragon.

I have noticed a special effect with using the Dragon and talking out loud to write—the headphones, microphone, and the sound of my voice creates a special and private space. I don’t know if the headset will block out a lot of noise, because I can still hear the traffic outside the window, but it helps me block out the noise and concentrate on the words inside my head. Obviously, since I have not added any words to my book in progress, I don’t exactly know how beneficial the Dragon is going to be, but I have a hunch it’s going to be just fine. I have never been an inspired writer, a writer who sets her fingers on the keys and the story forms without  her actually thinking it out. I have to dredge the words one at a time out of my mind, so I might as well go one step further and say them aloud. Oddly, during my last few writing sessions I’d found myself mouthing the words before I typed. Perhaps I was practicing the Dragon long before I even got it? (An aside: as intuitive as the Dragon is, it does not recognize when I am asking a question. I still have to tell it to put a question mark at the end of the sentence.)

I don’t know if you can tell that I am smiling as I am speaking, but I really do get a kick out of this program. It’s magic. I speak and words appear on the page. Awesome.

Well once again it’s been nice talking to you. Literally, talking. I hope you managed to do some creative work today, or creative play. Talk to you again soon.


The painting below is my first attempt at watercolors. I call it Cloudy Day. Why orange clouds? Why not?



(Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”) Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

10 Responses to “Creative Play”

  1. Wanda Hughes Says:

    Radioactivity? Orange clouds I mean. (I’m grinning as I type.) I think I’d like your Dragon. I always wanted to have a mini tape recorder for long trips because I seemed to have great story ideas while driving and of course, they discourage us from writing and driving. Can’t wait to see what your ending is for the new book. And I’m very glad you’re getting out and doing a bit more. Must be a big relief to even just take a walk. I’m really proud of you doing some painting. New stuff is good for a person. I’m crocheting lately and that’s been helpful to me. Of course no writing but it will come when it comes. Nice talking back to you. Cheers.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      It’s always good to hear from you, Wanda. And so pleased with your interest in my book! Maybe crocheting will give you mental time to “think” your book into being.

  2. Roger Says:

    Hi Pat. Glad to see you back in the saddle. I was beginning to worry about you.
    I’m a picture guy. I take a lot of them and I like to play around with them and send them to people sometimes. And I LOVE your painting! Really. Between Dragon and the watercoloring, it seems you may have a pretty good base for one of those upward spirals that you’re do for. More paintings please.
    Still working on Madame Zee Zee.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Okay, more paintings! I loved taking photos, but even with the simple cameras we have today, it’s hard to do one-handed. And yes, I am ready for an upward spiral!

  3. Malcolm R. Campbell Says:

    How well does the software handle punctuation. Does it seem to “know” when you want a period or a question mark. How do you indicate a new paragraph or that certain lines are dialogue and need to be in quotes?

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      You have to dictate new paragraphs and punctuation, including dialogue. What I might do when I work on dialogue for the book is just d the back-and-forth dialogue to make it seem fresh and spontaneous, then go back later to add quotation marks, beats, and actions.

  4. LordBeariOfBow Says:

    Why not indeed! 🙂
    I shall have to look into this Dragon thing myself, it sounds like something I can put to good use. Thanks Pat,

  5. Coco Ihle Says:

    I’m noticing a more cheerful Pat here. I believe the Dragon is helping and I am impressed with your painting! Nice composition and color choices. Way to go, Pat!!!

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