Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Writer Wednesday: Eric Syrdal

For a long time, I thought Super Mario would be the only plumber I would think was awesome. Then along comes Eric, a brilliant writer who wears his heart on his sleeve and just so happens to be a plumber. I first stumbled across his writing through Twitter and brilliant entries in Friday Phrases. Already a fan of his writing, I was fascinated he had such passion and talent for words while also being committed to excellence in a service industry. As months have gone by my appreciation extended from his writing into who and how he is as a human. Here’s a more in depth look to one of the nicest guys I’ve come across in quite a long while.

1. Tell us a Little about yourself and if possible, tell us the reason behind your twitter handle.

Well, I was born and raised in New Orleans. That's pronounced, "Nawlins" by the way, I'm not sure where New Or-Leens, is. Went to college here and eventually got married and started a family. I live in a humble house in the suburbs with my wife and my two kids who are the center of my life. Writing has always been a hobby of mine! I hope one day that it might be my profession. But for now I am a mild-mannered Plumber who likes to write sonnets when he's not battling water leaks or clogged drains. 

My twitter handle, @blade4hire comes firstly from the main reason I started my twitter account all those years ago. Some friends of mine and I wanted to keep in touch and "try out this new twitter thing" there was an inside joke between us about me being a mercenary, so I checked out handle options, "@sellsword" was taken so I came up with "Blade4hire" and I've had it ever since. But anyone who knows me lately, can quickly tell you that I am in no way a "mercenary" when it comes to loyalty or support. So the Blade4hire moniker has mainly come to mean that if I love you, I'll lend my sword to your fight any of charge. 

2. When did you start writing poetry and why?

I was always a writer of some sort since I was very young. Poetry, for me, started somewhere around my high school years. I guess it originated from a need to explore emotions, mostly romantic, and to sort of organize and arrange those emotions into manageable ideas. Always on the wrong side of the "teenage power struggle", it helps to be able to express your emotions into a marble covered composition book...rather than doing something "stupid" about them.

3. You are a plumber by day, how does that influence your writing?

I'm not really sure how it directly influences my writing. But I can tell you, that having a job that allows you to get glimpses into the lives and attitudes of the general public can definitely influence the way I feel about humanity. I've seen just about every kind of living condition imaginable. I can tell you that I still find it horrifying how we will allow ourselves to live... and how we allow each other to live. Man's inhumanity to himself and his fellow man... a plot that never changes.

4. What life lessons has your job taught you?

So we have a inside joke that all plumbers tell new apprentices when they first start learning. "Cold is always on the right, hot is always on the left and don't chew your fingernails." I know, kind of gross, but I thought it was funny when they said it to me. I don't think plumbing has really taught me any lessons that can be made into a "lifetime special" or something to put on the hallmark channel but it has taught me an appreciation for not judging a book by it's cover. I come in contact with people all day long who have preconceived ideas about the way I will behave and speak because of the stigma we have applied to not only plumbers but men who work in "service' jobs in general. As a direct result of that, we (meaning service personnel) are dwindling in numbers here in the United States. We've taught our children that jobs, such as mine, are beneath them... and quite the contrary is true. It's hard work, doing things most people find disgusting... but without it, disease and pestilence run wild. It is a necessary part of life.

5. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve encountered in your line of work?

Weirdest thing? It has to be that people, no matter their origin... size, weight, eye color, background, skin color, religion...etc, still won't tell me the truth about how a plumbing fixture got broken/clogged so that I can diagnose it and fix it properly. Most of the time I have to explain to them that I'm not the police, and I only want to help. If it sounds funny, that's because it is.

6. You specialize in poetry but do you also dabble in other styles or genres?

I do. I write a lot of short stories, I guess you can call them "micro-fiction". Barely more than a page or so. Often times with a clear beginning, middle and end. It tends to frustrate people when trying to categorize it, because it might look like a poem in some parts and a story in others. I'm not even sure, exactly, what to call it. But I enjoy doing it.

7. If you had your own planet, what would you name it and what would be some requirements to be able to live there?

Requirements? You've seen it on signs and t-shirts before: Be Nice or Leave.

If we need a clear definition of nice, we can look to Wil Wheaton's law which states: "Don't be a dick"

8. You have your own band, what’s it called? What’s the title of the first album and share the track listing. 


"Through The Breach"

I have honestly tried to come up with a track listing... but that's taking a few more brain cells than I can squish together right now. So I'll say this. I'm fairly sure that the songs will contain the following elements:
  • Sword Imagery
  • Knight Imagery
  • Dragon/Daemon Imagery
  • Multiple references to Greek Mythology
  • Multiple references to Shakespeare 
  • Epic battles in Valhalla
(I don't know if I mentioned I'm of Norwegian decent)

9. Why do you say goodnight to so many people on Twitter and how long does it take you? I find it sweet though wondering where it came from and how long it’s been going on and whether there’s a story to it? 

That started actually from a few people saying, "goodnight/good morning" to me in the early days of my Twitter lifetime. Since then it's evolved into a tradition of sorts. It was a way for me to stay connected to people that I really enjoy talking to. Sometimes we might not interact for several days depending on work schedules and other RL issues. It just, sort of, allows me to say, "Hey, I'm still out here and I remember you and I hope you are well." 

A lot of people have come to expect it, and have even commented to me that they look forward to it. Sometimes the smallest clue that someone else in the world cares for you can make all the difference.

It takes me roughly 30 to 40 minutes. People have suggested that I try and use some sort of automated program to do it. Personally I believe that defeats the point. So I go through, one by one, and type it all in. If it brings a smile to one person's face, then by the rules of my heart... it's worth it.

10. Where can people read more of you and what are your plans in the future?

Right now the best place to read anything I've written is on my Blog. 

I've been working very hard there lately. Over the last two weeks or so, I think I've posted something just about every day. There are a few pieces about me and some things going on in my life. But most of it is my work. I try to keep the journal entries to a minimum.

If anyone wants to follow me on twitter, they can get a glimpse into my writing for the poetry prompts as well as my participation in the Friday Phrases prompt.

Thanks for this opportunity and honor, J.D.! I really appreciate your interest in Myself and My work.

Wishing you all the best, Good Sir.

* * * *
My thanks to Eric for his time and his wonderful answers. The honor was at the very least mutual and stay tuned, there’s a collaboration coming. Be sure to check out his blog and Twitter feed (especially on Fridays) and if you have a chance, be sure to say good night. 

Btw, If you’re curious, here’s the prompt I sent the Blade :D Cheers

Prompt: We’re at a bar and see Santa Claus depressed and having a drink. What words would you offer to console him?


  1. Absolutely amazing! Great interview!

    1. He did brilliantly. Thank you for sharing, reading and commenting. :D Cheers

  2. Plumbing is not as easy as people make it out to be, having to touch and work in an area that most people consider disgusting, is not easy. I have a friend who is a plumber and from the stories he tells me, I think there is more to plumbing. It is always inspiring to hear someone else share their story.

    1. Thank you so much for reading and pardon the delay. Indeed it is not an easy job and there is definitely a lot more to plumbing. Cheers to you and here's to the people who do hard jobs and share the stories :D