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edge staff writer


Dog genius brings her brilliance to the book world

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BANGOR – Another literary genius has sprung from the fertile creative soil of our region, with a debut author preparing to take the world of letters by storm. But she is not just any author – this writer is a respected competitive chess player and a groundbreaking app developer. She decided that her next conquest would be the written word.

She is also a dog.

Longtime readers might remember stories from years past when we covered this pooch’s bevy of canine accomplishments – her surprise aptitude for chess, her elegant and effective coding ability – but this latest installment in her adventures presents an opportunity not just to promote her excellence, but to issue a confession.

This dog is my dog. She has always been my dog.

In the previous stories, I adopted a pseudonym – Anthony DiCicco – because I wanted to avoid the appearance of conflicting interests and because I wanted to ensure that Stella was able to maintain her privacy.

That all changed when she wanted to write a story for this very publication, a story about Penobscot Theatre Company’s Dog Operas (check out the piece on our website and then check out the Dog Operas – “The Barker of Seville” is still running, to be joined by “Tosca the Ball” on April 6 and “Dog Giovanni” on May 4). With that byline, it all changed – the world knew about our connection, so why hide it anymore?

As it turns out, that story gave Stella the bug. She decided that she wanted to write … something. She wasn’t sure if it would be a novel or a collection of stories or even a play, but she knew that she had something inside her that she wanted to let out and this was the way that she wanted to do it.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t proud.

To my surprise, it turned out that she had been working on something on and off for some time without my knowledge. It was only when she reported and wrote the Dog Operas story that she felt the final push to finish her manuscript – a manuscript that, despite only being in the pipeline for a couple of weeks, has already generated some serious interest in the publishing world.

You might expect that Stella would have written something about, well, being a dog. We are told to write what we know, after all. Instead, what she has crafted is a multigenerational epic, a story that spans past, present and future as it lays out the saga of one family’s trials and tribulations as they slowly ascend from obscurity into places of unmatched power, wealth and influence. With elements of historical and speculative fiction folded into what serves as a series of bildungsroman snapshots – each chapter explores a formative event in the life of a member of one generation, a sort of “dog writes man” situation – it is, to be frank, an absolute masterpiece.

The title remains in flux – Stella wants to call it “Sirius,” but some people are saying that the name is too genre-y, whatever that means. Apparently, they’re looking to downplay the speculative elements spread throughout the book and avoid anything that might raise the ire of the notoriously litigious J.K. Rowling, choosing instead to focus on the fact that a dog wrote a book. Understandable, I suppose.

We’re already receiving glowing reviews and blurbs from the literary notables to whom we reached out. One particularly lauded and reclusive author – a longtime friend of The Maine Edge who asked that his name not be shared here, but that rhymes with “Schmomas Schmynchon” – went so far as to hold the book up as a contender for the mythic title of Great American Novel. Think about that – the Great American Novel written by a dog. In a weird way, it kind of tracks.

You might wonder how Stella’s accomplishments have impacted me. You might expect me to be envious – after all, this is a dog that has shown herself to have tremendous gifts in the very field at which I humbly toil. Gifts that far outstrip mine, if I’m honest about it. You don’t see multiple publishing houses clamoring to purchase MY novel, after all. MY manuscript didn’t get called “a triumph of incandescent prose and narrative craftsmanship” by a Nobel laureate.

Of COURSE I’m envious – it would be weird if I weren’t. But I still support and adore my sweet-faced little pooch. And she still loves me. I still feed her and pat her and scratch her butt and let her hog the bed. Our relationship supersedes any minor professional jealousy I might bear toward her.

She’s my dog, you know? And that’s all that matters.

(On the off chance that you haven’t already figured it out, this is our April Fools’ Day edition. As such, there will be stories that are completely and totally made up. The preceding was one such story.)

Last modified on Tuesday, 30 March 2021 18:30


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