27 A FINAL SHORT STORY TO SAY
Our people say that a community can feed a man... can a man feed a community?
The journey to the final manuscript was filled with thorns and ugly thistles. The first editors, Tochi Nicole Brown and Tavershima Ayede had the right instruments to clear them. Su'eddie thanks them all, but had to apologize, being human, for whatever errors his blunt devices brought forth. Adewunmi Adeduntan did amazingly with 'Puzzles.' Regina Achie-Nege did the final cleaning.
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Tales have their genesis somewhere: The verse of a certain lady, Gbubemi Pessu, titled 'The Music from the other room' inspired the short story of the same title. One evening the wondrous poet, Dr. Hyginus Ekwuazi, told Su'eddie a story of his life. Somehow, it formed the foundation for 'The Gaping Void'. 'A Tale of another's Crime' started as a dream and was written in dedication to Iember Nor. 'Smiles, Sighs and Groans' was written for a big sister, Mercy Njideka Adeduntan. That tale ('Smiles...') is dedicated to Dotta Raphels, Aturmercy, Dora Oyana, Dooyum Tsavsar, Hembadoon Itakpe and Sibbyl Whyte. Now, maybe a few other tales had their own stories too... May be.
Geoff Ryman gave some tips to the author—most which he hopes to apply in subsequent editions...
Okay, Mr. Writer, let me take over from here...
Chuma Nwokolo has been a great teacher and friend. Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim and Reward Nsirim remain writers who inspire me. Elnathan John in many ways helped me to shape 'Puzzles' and gave me hope when I am sure he never knew. The critique sessions at Abuja Writers' Forum helped to make me far better. I am grateful to Dr. Emman Shehu for the forum and for his work on supporting literature. The Association of Nigerian Authors has also been a supportive body giving me a platform to launch several ideas. Thanks to Remi Raji, Denja Abdullahi, Maiwada, and the ANA top team for their work at the national level. Naija Stories and the Benue ANA group on Facebook gave me a platform to put up some of these tales. I got lots of encouragement and also constructive criticism from there. I really would have named most of the people there but that would be naming a galaxy of writers. Still, Myne Whitman, Kaycee Uzochukwu, Seun Odukoya, Su'eddie Vershima Agema
Gboyega Otolorin, Lawal Opeyemi, Ife Watson, Enoquin, Gooseberry, Jefsaraurmax, Shanu 'Shai' Afolami, Thank you Myne Whitman for that platform. It means much. Ada Agada, thank you for your commitment to literature. Sometimes, you have issues but overall, well done on all you do. Thanks to Drs Maria Ajima and Andrew Aba for their support through time. The SEVHAGE Editorial assistants, Debbie Iorliam and Sewe Leah Anyo have proven friends time and again. They gave me various tips on the work and asked certain questions that made me make the final selection that have become this work. Debbie has remained one fascinating lady that one cannot help but be grateful for. Thaddeus Naor, Terese Uwuave and Eugene Odogwu, thumbs up for the production we do. Jay and Nath Aduro, Jennifer Emelife, Sibbyl Whyte Onyeocha, Nkemjika Xtien Okeke, Ene Odaba and Anselm Ngutsav have been of help inspiring me to move on at different moments, thanks guys. My friends, Kukogho Iruesiri Samson, Femi Morgan, Dami Ajayi and Servio K. Gbadamosi: good work with promoting literature guys. Azafi Omoluabi et Ra: You raise the bar. Well done.
Regards are due Sam Ogabidu, a friend through the years, Tubal Rabbi Cain and Omadachi Oklobia, patrons whose help has eased some literary and developmental challenges. Mrs. Eugenia Abu has remained a mentor and I thank her for a lot words can't say. Johua Agbo, Maik Ortserga, Andrew Bula and Pever X are pals whom I have sipped several toasts that have inspired more critical thinking. I salute Myles Idoko Ojabo for being my brother and being the artiste that makes the role of the writer come alive each time. I am grateful to my paddies: Sonnen Gire, Alu Iperen, Victor Olugbemiro, Rosarii Gberikon, Yakori Mohammed, Sola Abisagbo, Teror and Solo Chen, Ololade Olatunji, Inalegwu Oklobia, Femi Adewunmi and Bunmi Olateju for so much. Ternenge Torough, Mlumun and Evelyn gave me board. Merci! Ugbor Ogochukwu has stood by me through much. Thank you, nwa nnem. Agatha Aduro has been far more than words can say; a heart's thrill, a soul's song any day. Thank you for being there. To my siblings, those to whom this collection is dedicated and others including Ngodoo, Ngohide, Terhide, Tersoo, Sefa, Fanen, Av and Verun: I am honoured to have you here. For all the wahala, thanks. The Shangos, Ayedes, the Adzeges (Fafa et Sewie mi), Agemas—Schola, Victor, Aver, Chinedu, Lolo...and all—una well done. To Chris Ayede-Agema: thanks for the love and every single support, you make it worth it.
And on the vast sheets of the subconscious, he wrote the names of the million others that the limitations of paper didn't help him praise. A little note was added as he let them know that they meant far more than a few scattered thanks on dozen leaves could say. They were in his prayers each day and he prayed that the times be truly kind for them all and everyone of us. Amen.