Sunday, September 06, 2009

The Sunday Roast

Not Just A Flash In The Pan

This week's interview is with Eddie Bluelights,
who writes the blog Clouds And Silvery Linings.

Here's the first of the standard questions.Why do you blog?

My reasons for blogging are different now compared with when I began. I have always wanted to have a crack at writing - at first I saw blogging as a vehicle to develop my untested writing skills and to relate my ambulance experiences to ‘an audience’. Little did I appreciate just how difficult a task lay ahead of actually 'gaining an audience' and just how persistent I had to be to make any success in blogland. By success I mean receiving comments and acquiring followers.

I wrote a post about all this entitled A Blogging He Would Go! but suffice to say that once or twice I almost gave up entirely, having acquired just two ‘animated’ followers, a woman trying to sell me wallpaper and someone considering I required the services of a dating agency! Geepers! I already have one ‘trouble and strife’ – isn’t that more than enough? Two would be impossible!! My first post was a serious one about losing a dearly beloved renal patient and only one person read it - I was very disappointed but I did not realise at the time it takes time to get established.

My reasons today for blogging are entirely different. I love writing, reading other people’s work and posting my comments - but it is all very time consuming! Of course for me the most rewarding aspect of blogging is receiving comments for one’s labours. Time is sometimes rather limited so it is not always possible to visit people as often as I would like but one has to have a balance with life outside blogsville.

I started comedy and creative writing with my Mickey the Budgie stories and these caught on with some folks who signed up as faithful followers. From then the enterprise grew very gradually with a wider audience gained, resulting in turn with more comments received, responding to subjects like a Harley Davidson motor bike boasting in broad Shakespearean just how great he is and this led me to suppose what life would be like today if we all talked in broad Shakespearean.

Blogging becomes a bit addictive after a while and I think the reason for this is the social aspect. I have made some very good friends and email a few really close people regularly. To stop doing this would be a wrench for me now. The television does not get a look in these days but my wife thinks I am totally crackers for spending so long in this other world!! - a world which in many ways makes much more sense than the outside world in which we live.

What is the story behind your blog name?

The name Clouds and Silvery Linings originates from a Stanley Holloway monologue, The Return of Albert, in which Mr Ramsbottom tries to console his wife after their son has been eaten alive by a lion, remarking to her, “Let’s look on the bright side, mother, what can’t be helped must be endured, every cloud has a silvery lining, and we did have young Albert insured.’ It just seemed to fit like a glove to an idea I was trying to achieve at the time, posting some sad stories sometimes mixed with some funny stories, with not much in between – a sort of bi-polar approach. My good friend Janine at Sniffles and Smiles does the same thing with her blog with very good effect. Incidentally Janine and I started out in Blogland at about the same time.

My other blog, Plato’s Procrastinations is a fun blog and I used a ridiculous but catchy name to suit my rather over-developed sense of humour, with Plato and Socrates living at a recently excavated site where they somehow come back to life and are currently holidaying in Rhodes together. If they ever come back I shall be really ‘stumped’ – I’d be completely lost with their far superior intellect!! Incidentally on this blog I have posted most of the Stanley Holloway monologues, including, The Return Of Albert.

What is the best thing about being a blogger?

I see blogland as a community and a large family of wonderful people with each person as an important constituent member, rather like the inhabitants of a beehive or an ants' nest - all different – all contributing in his or her own special way for the good of the community. I love trying to encourage new bloggers, fully realising what a struggle it is to get going and achieve success. I have met some wonderful people - many are now personal friends – helpful, friendly, encouraging and talented.

I see some friends, or even strangers, who are sometimes upset about something or other and it is a privilege to try to reach them and cheer them up a bit; leaving them a word of hope, a spiritual cuddle, a kind word - anything to help them. Along the way I have met some truly great writers, photographers, artists, poets and story tellers. Some leave me standing from an academic and intellectual level – some poetry and poetic writing is way over my head, yet I can tell these friends want to come and visit little old me from time to time and usually they like what I do and like what I say. They seem to all like my humour.

I love leaving witty and humorous comments here and there, particularly for the ladies – it is all such good clean fun and they all seem to come back for more. I see the blogging arena as a stage where I can unwind and perform and make people laugh and sometimes make them cry with a sad story. It is a huge escape valve for me from the outside world which I call Cosmos Diabolicus.

What key advice would you give to a newbie blogger?

Crumbs! That’s a bit difficult for a fairly new boy! However, I remember some of the mistakes I made and would advise new bloggers of these pointers which I had to learn how to rectify the hard way:

1. Don’t make posts too long like I did. 700 words is enough because the reader wants to see 20-25 people as well as you during this sitting and if he sees a huge mountain, no matter how well dressed, he will not read it all. He cannot. I know! I'm a fat one to talk!

2. Even in a serious post inject some humour to break up the rhythm and make them read on.

3. Use photographs and always take a camera – everywhere! I have missed some great photos by not doing so – a car on fire, some animal stories lost because I missed some unusual situations. Just one photo can make a short story, like my recent Peacocks in my garden - they just dropped in from nowhere - clean out of the sky, and this time the camera was there, ready for them.

4. Try to make posts relate to personal experiences. This is something I have started to do much more recently and it is beginning to unlock more doors. People can understand these and relate to theses posts, like my recent ambulance stories I am doing, or my bird nest boxes.

5. This works for me, but be careful. Flatter the ladies, including some nice compliments in your comments. I love doing it and if done tastefully and politely it will win you friends. But always make sure your Dr Jekyll is in total control of your Mr Hyde – I have gone a little near the mark once or twice – naughty boy! But I know no offence was taken – thank God!!

6. Persevere – Rome was not built in a day, as Lola will tell you. I think the real answer is commenting on other people’s posts regularly, which alas I cannot do enough of at present due to pressures at work. Be witty and interesting in your comments - and above all be genuine.

What is the most significant post you have ever read?

Bearing in mind I have been on the scene only seven months or so and I have not yet met every talented writer, I have some really great recommendations. There are several bloggers whom I must read, every time. If I had to choose just a few I would chose Meredith Teagarden of The Things We Carried, currently on vacation. In my view her post which moved me most, almost to tears, was Men in Black and White and Khaki. At this moment in time I would rate this post as the finest I have ever read - anywhere! All of Meredith’s posts are wonderful and I would not miss reading any.

Another truly great writer is Janine at Sniffles and Smiles, currently taking a well deserved rest, and all her posts are POTD material, some sad and some funny. In fact Janine has had more POTDs than hot dinners and all her output is a 'must read'. She is conspicuous by her absence right now and we all miss her.

I do not like mentioning just two great writers because there are many more. For me personally I like Lola at Aglio, Olio & Peperoncino for her all round ability with her fabulous menus and historical postings – all meticulously researched, crafted and presented – so interesting. And I can tell you she is a lovely lass as well with a great sense of humour (thank God) – a real poppet and she is very tolerant of a 'kitchen ignoramus' like me who has 'two left spoons' when it comes to cooking. She, too is on vacation currently, as is my next choice, another great writer, photographer and good friend, Cherry at The Girl from Cherry Blossom Street and I cannot forget a great talent and highly popular lady and a celebrity, Debbie at Dishing with Debbie.

You see we all meet people in blogland whom we really like – everyone I have mentioned is a good friend of mine, including some of my more recent introductions to whom alas there is no time to mention. In fact I know there are other great people out there I have not met yet - I'm looking forward to it.

Jim at Suldog is a real treat to read and I love ‘sparring’ with him – we have had some great battles recently but underneath it all he and I are real softies. Jane at Gaston Studios always provides an exceptionally interesting story. And there are many, many other super writers, Erin at Woman in a Window and Michael at The God of Another World to name but two - these are two in fact who are a little too clever for me but are good friends. You see I could go on and on – quite simply I feel greatly privileged to be doing this Roast because actually I look up to all these people and admire their work greatly. Forgive me not mentioning other greats - time and space is limited.

And, of course David’s rhymes, anecdotes and posts at Authorblog inspire me to add my bits and pieces - I love doing that.

What is the most significant post you have written?

It has to be my fun post, They’re Off: Bloggers’ Grand National in which all the principal riders were bloggers and their horses were their blog names. This was such great fun to write and everyone seemed to love it and all wanted to win the race so badly – some want another race next year, crumbs – how the ‘ell am I going to do another one??? It is a pity though that some really great characters have emerged since this post, previously not known to me at the time of writing, and the race would have been much better with them in it - just imagine Jim at Suldog in it as well!! The mind boggles!!.

This post broke all the blogging rules – it was far, far too long but I got away with it because it had to be very lengthy to achieve the end result when everyone was shattered with sheer nervous exhaustion. When the race was finished the poor commentator nearly had a heart attack - his voice was an octave higher and in musical terms he was speaking Presto Agitato and with a huge Crescendo. I was stretched to the limit of my creative writing ability to keep attention throughout this very long and gruelling race – I made the horses talk, I met a lovely lady en route and several of us spoke in broad Shakespearean whilst all the rich American punters got impatient and threatened to ‘bust my ass’ if I didn’t get on with the race and to quit talking that Shakespearean crap!!

Other posts I enjoyed writing were Mickey the Celibate Budgie and Mickey the Lovesick Budgie – these really caught on with my early readers. I have written a three part love story, And Lead us not into Temptation, a five part play, 767 Weddings, 2 Irate Vicars and Almost a Funeral. And, of course I have written more humour and some serious material as well.

Currently I am relating my ambulance experiences - there are some very funny memories and some very sad ones as well. I issue a warning as a preview of coming attractions! I am working on another big production where we can ALL have some great fun - another 'biggy' like the Grand National - watch out you may be in it! Watch this space - but it will take a while to complete.

If someone two years ago had told me I would have done all this I would have called them stark raving bonkers. Not even in my wildest dreams would I have thought this could happen, let alone did happen.

In conclusion I would like to thank two people who kept me going during my early days with their encouragement – I thank you Janine and I thank you too David, and I wish all new bloggers every success with their blogs and posts.

Once again, David, thank you for the roast – as usual I have been a bit verbose and consequently been on the spit for a while and although I am well done I must get off because it is getting far too hot and unless I escape I shall soon be a burnt offering.

Today's Sunday Roast with Eddie Bluelights is the 82nd in a weekly series of interviews with bloggers from around the world.


Carolyn R. Parsons said...

One of my favourite bloggers ever! Love ya Eddie! Glad to see you roasted...but you've always been well-done so nothing too startling in that!


K. said...

Great interview, David! Eddie Bluelights is entertaining indeed. I think I'm going to start saying "Crumbs!" LOL...I think my kids and coworkers would really enjoy that. :)

Eleonora Baldwin said...

Woo hoo! Excellent introduction, as always David. I love Eddie's advice about keeping it short - its' so him to say that and then go on for 8 pages!

He's a sweet man, and his good nature comes through with every word he blogs. He has been very close to me in difficult times, and I will never thank him enough.

Bravo David and thank you Eddie for the mention! Thou rockest, pet.


Sandi McBride said...

I've been visiting Eddie for a few months now and he never fails to entertain. Thanks for the roast David!

Maggie May said...

I enjoy Eddie Bluelights sense of humour and his exuberance that permeates everything he writes.
Is he having a laugh though saying *Keep posts short so that the reader could visit 24 others*! I could have visited 2 or 3 dozen while I read that lot!
Great interview.
Only kidding Eddie!

Anonymous said...

Definitely a great blogger, I always a trip to Eddie's blog. He comes across as a caring and gentle character, a pleasure to have made his acquaintance albeit in blogland.

CJ xx

Bernie said...

One of my favorite bloggers, always ready to help us new bloggers with words of encouragement and whenever I need a blog problem solved, I ask Eddie. He never makes me feel ignorant or a nuisance....and I will say he does chat up the ladies in the village and we love him for it.
Great Roast David......Great blogging Eddie.......:-) Hugs

Eddie Bluelights said...

Crumbs! That's a long post!
Thanks a lot David - great honour for me - got the flashing eye lights working at my place ~ Eddie

Eddie Bluelights said...

Ah! Great, David . . . you have made my eyes flash as well. All I need now is my Thinking Cap! ~ Eddie

Anonymous said...

Eddie....a job well done, my friend. The hints that you give to new bloggers (that would be ME) are very helpful ones. The greatest help to a blogger is to have someone (like yourself and Janine, Bernie, and others like you) that will comment with sincerity and not be afraid to let the humour (I put the "U" in just for "U"..)...flow. Thank you for being a blogging friend...not only to me but to many many people all over the world. Congratulations on a well-done interviewm Mr. Bluelights!!
Smiles to you from Jackie

Anonymous said...

An excellent choice, David. Mr. Bluelights has been a favorite of mine for awhile. He is genuine and humorous and is anything but predictable.

Anonymous said...

David, you have chosen a favorite of mine. Great interview! How humbling to see what Eddie wrote here. He is truly a kind man with a fabulous sense of humor! Thank you for spotlighting him!

Shrinky said...

What a treat to find Eddie in here!

Merisi said...

Wonderful Sunday Roast,
about a blogger who truly has great stories to share!
Thank you, David and Eddie! :-)

Unknown said...

What a great choice to roast Eddie, David, he is one genuinely funny man, with genuine being the key word. A great read, and he gave me a shoutout! How sweet!

Mr London Street said...

If that's keeping it brief I dread to think what the unabridged version would be like!

Nice interview.

scribbling sassy said...

he's my favorite guy in the whole bloggie world!

Cheffie-Mom said...

I don't know how I missed this - we all love Eddie!! Great interview!!

Eddie Bluelights said...

Testing to see if I can post a comment