Conversations…Gerry Huntman

Some ten years ago, I gingerly came on Facebook. I came determined to learn a few things but also I was fearful. I made my first trip to an online writing circle. I wanted to learn more about writing. I started writing while I was in secondary school. You know that mushy romantic stuff from my reading of Denise Robins, Barbara Cartland. Oh, I read other authors. Crime, like the 87th precinct, and even high brow books like Plato, Kafka, And Jean-Paul Satre. I had to learn to like my own company for a lot of reasons. I am not telling you my life story, just sharing with you what brought me into online lessons.
I already had a presence in my corner of the world as a dramatist and producer on intervention series like I Need to know, the intervention series that was sponsored by UNFPA and later caught the attention of CIDA. I could call myself a star you know and preen myself. However, after those intervention series and fame, I wanted a bit to expand my horizon. I had self-published two novels, had a book launch of the books. I had been part of anthologies of poetry. So why did I want to go online? Simple. I said to myself I was at best a fish in a pond and wanted to know what went on at the other beach. It was the reason I had suspended my television broadcasting world to go into print and books so I came to Facebook after joining an online writing forum. At the writing club, I had started writing my first novel, That I wanted to use to introduce myself to a larger world. I met a couple of friends, but three of us became what we called The CHORD. we shared our stories with each other, tried to be honest about how we felt. I was the only black, and Nigerian. Those two became my closest friends online. We would chat for hours. It was always about our writings. Then I met someone who became almost a part of me. I met Gerry Huntman.
Gerry Huntman, how do I write about someone I spent the first few months trying to understand? I had heard so much about online fraud, the contempt in which the white race particularly Americans held blacks particularly Nigerians? This was online and I had no reason to trust anyone but I had not counted on the personality that was and is Gerry Huntman. IFWG publishing company took me in as a family member. Gerry personally edited my first effort as an international author. He retained my voice for me. He allowed me to tell y story my way. He became not just my publisher, but also my brother and friend. I have never met Gerry in person, but I feel very personal about him and his family.
When other publishers suddenly gave me recognition and wanted to publish my works, they were puzzled when I will insist that I will wait until Gerry tells me he does not want to have anything to do with this Nigerian old woman. In my conversations with myself, I would ask why and how I got to be so lucky to have met virtually Gerry Huntman and how come he trusted me. He gave me authority backed economically to have Nigerian prints of my books when the world moved on from me. When I was being sold up the garden path by those who took copies of my books and would not send me returns, he asked me to collect the books and sell as best as I can. He is one that I want to give this tribute for reaching out and treating his writers as a member of his extended self.
It is my prayer and longing, that one day, I might be able to thank Gerry Huntman for being so special. He has remained a guide and friend and yes brother. I normally salute him with a greeting that is unique in my village. It is a greeting we normally give to someone we respect deeply and by age has earned that, it is a single word greeting that members of my village who read this will recognize and would be curious in learning I say that in greeting to Gerry. Since I explained it to him he will generally greet me that way as his African sister. So, Gerry, as I thank you for all you have been to me in the last ten years and more I will end it this way:
Ake!!

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