Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Critic by Bonnie Biafore

Bonnie Biafore is the author of twenty-six books including Project 2010: The Missing Manual, Successful Project Management (award-winner at the 2012 STC International Competition), QuickBooks 2013: The Missing Manual (now Intuit’s Official Guide to QuickBooks), and the Better Investing Stock Selection Handbook (STC Distinguished Award and APEX Award of Distinction). She also records a course on project management and QuickBooks for Lynda.com.

Her first novel, Fresh Squeezed, a comedic thriller with incompetent hit men, stupid criminals, a drunk ferret, and several dogs, is now available in print and e-book.



The Critic by Bonnie Biafore

The life of a writer can be lonely, sitting in front of a computer for hours on end. Fortunately, I have two Bernese Mountain Dogs, Maia and Cole, to keep me company. What do they think of what I do for a living? Do I really want to know?

* * *

She sits at her desk hour after hour, pawing frenetically at her keyboard, like a Jack Russell Terrier burrowing into a rodent’s hole. The rhythm broken only when she reaches over, grabs her mug, and swigs whatever beverage it holds. Caffeine in the morning, alcohol as time passes--sometimes, very little time, I might add. Neither substance seems to improve the drivel she produces, but if it makes her happy…

I’m curled up in my chair, staring at her back. She’s oblivious, like Cole when he chases a squirrel. If only her focus delivered some noticeable successful result. I close my eyes and sigh. I must ponder the situation.

When I open my eyes, the sun has moved, but she hasn’t. I step out of my chair, amble over, and peer over her forearm at the screen. I scan what she’s written. Poor misguided creature.

I hook my paw over her arm and stare without saying a word.

“What?” she asks innocently.

“You make that Labrador out to be a buffoon. As if his sense of smell and filling his belly is his only motivation. Well, OK, he is a Lab, but you’re dangerously close to insulting.”

“Do you want a cookie?’

“Yes, of course.” I follow her to the closet, Cole close behind me, wagging his tail.

She hands over the treats. I crunch thoughtfully. A delectable mélange of peanut butter and molasses.

I follow her back to her desk and sit beside her. “And Tofu? You know that’s an embarrassing name for a hunting dog -- any dog for that matter. You don’t even mention how that makes him feel or how he compensates because of it.”

Her shoulders sag. Cole slinks over with his obsequious attitude, tail wagging wildly, knocking papers off the desk. He gazes at her with adoration and babbles “Looks good to me! I think she nailed Tofu’s personality!”

I give him a withering stare and he steps back.

“I’m…I’m a little thirsty. I’ll go get a drink.” He heads to the kitchen and laps at the bowl of water.

“Looks like you have more work to do,” I say gently but leaving no doubt. She is a successful writer, but only because of my mentoring.

She turns back to the screen and extends her hand toward the keyboard. I curl my toes on her knee and gaze at her meaningfully. It’s time for a break to clear the head and let those ideas solidify.

Her eyes widen like those of a deer who sees me coming. She understands. I am Maia, Earth Goddess. I know all.

“Hey!” she says brightly.

My ears prick up.

“Do you want to go for a ride in the car?”

Cole starts barking, the effort lifting his front paws off the ground. I back up and grin, wagging my tail enthusiastically. It’s important to reward these creatures when they do something right. But really. Who got the idea humans are so smart? It took her -- what? -- four hours to get the message, for dog’s sake. Ah well, it keeps us in kibble.


Thanks for the fun post, Bonnie. I think Maia and Cole are much more patient and sweet than my Katie Cat. Now I'm starting to imagine her version of this conversation...and it isn't pretty.

Learn more about Bonnie and Fresh Squeezed at her website.You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.


Anonymous said...

So fun! I love any story that involves a sweet canine personality!

Margot Kinberg said...

Pat - Thanks for hosting Bonnie.

Bonnie - I love your perspective! I'm sure my dogs feel the same way about me. I wonder what they think of what I write....hmmm......

Patricia Stoltey said...

Katie Cat just told me she would walk all over my keyboard if I didn't stop immediately and play with her. I get no respect.

I love this post, Bonnie. Now I want one of those dogs...but Katie said no way.

Karen Duvall said...

Bonnie, your dogs are adorable! I don't know what I'd do without my fur babies to keep me company during the day. I wish my dog enjoyed riding in the car, but she hates it. Instead she drags me around on the leash in all manner of weather. Today it will be ankle deep snow. At least I'll get my exercise. :)

Al Diaz said...

I think my dogs surprise sometimes how smart I can get, hahaha.

Shannon Baker said...

Fun post, Bonnie. Makes me miss having a dog.

Mike said...

Having been in a critique group with Bonnie, I can say her dogs are definitely smarter than the funny but not too bright criminals in her novel.