The Evocation Series- ‘Mirror Mirror’

Under the Green Desk Lamp…

The following post is part of ‘The Evocation Series’. Click Here for more information about the project, and to learn how to get involved yourself!

Blind Guardian- ‘Mirror Mirror’

Song Link

It’s a strange thing sometimes, to be a writer. Every once in a while, we must crawl out from our literary dens and take in the world around us. Like the groundhog portending the coming of spring we peek out, and a quick glimpse will usually suffice to fill us with sufficient terror and inspiration to send us scurrying back—loaded with ideas, and themes, and a terrible suspicion that the shock of venturing forth may simply not be worth it.

In the silence,

Words of wisdom.

I’ve seen the end of all,

Be aware the storm gets closer.

So, we settle into routine—reporting our fears and hopes from our places of silence and serenity. But what of the world without? The one we use to fuel our stories and mad speculations? As we create better, more hopeful worlds, what is left to those on the outside, living each day the sort of wild fantasies which we delegate to the domain of ink and paper?

Shall I leave my friends alone,

Hidden in my twilight hall?

I know the world is lost in fire,

Sure there is no way to turn it

Back to the old days.

There are moments of reprieve, no doubt. Short periods where the balance appears to be righting itself, and there seems to be some hope for the world. We can get lost in those moments. Still, the keen eye catches the small details, and it is clear, at the end of the day, that the hearts of humanity have not changed, and the course is still set for disaster.

Even though,

The storm calmed down.

The bitter end,

Is just a matter of time.

So, we create the heroes we need. We conjure them out of nothing and trap them with our words. We paint them clear as day—the honest men and women and hopeful children who could change this world in but a day if they were to unilaterally muster their passion for the purposes of decency and reinvention. They look good on those pages. Kind, beautiful, and utterly beyond our grasp.

Mirror Mirror on the wall,

True hope lies beyond the coast.

You’re a damned kind can’t you see,

That the winds will change?

In the end though, they are only stories after all.

-Brad OH Inc.

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The Evocation Series- ‘Nightfall’

Under the Green Desk Lamp…

The following post is part of ‘The Evocation Series’. Click Here for more information about the project, and to learn how to get involved yourself!

Blind Guardian- ‘Nightfall’

 Song Link

Arda, the world in which J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-Earth is set, was once a more beautiful and perfect place. The elves were invited West to the undying lands by the rulers of the land, the Valar, to join in the eternal bliss of the two trees. But jealousy and strife were sown by the Dark Lord Melkor, who destroyed the two trees of Valinor and set off a series of events which would leave the world forever changed.

All hope’s lost it can’t be undone

They’re wasted and gone.

Mourning, the elves sought desperately to return to the way things were, but found it impossible. Greed and pride prevented any solution, and the elves soon learned that there are some wounds too deep to heal, and that even the greatest of graces in their world were not beyond the taint of darkness.

The light she once brought in

Is gone forevermore.

But Fёanor, the king of the Noldor elves, could not accept this loss. For Melkor had also stolen the Silmarils, those three jewels created by Fёanor, which held within them the very light of the two trees. Fёanor was enraged by this transgression, and against the advice of the Valar swore a holy oath to retrieve them from Melkor at all cost.

The words of a banished king

“I swear revenge”.

This oath was unforgivable, and all the Noldor who followed Fёanor were banished forever from the undying lands of the Valar—doomed to toil eternally on their hopeless quest in the dark lands of Middle-Earth to the east. Some turned back, but others refused to see their kin march into doom unaided, and set out across the seas and ice to what fate might await them.

Never trust the northern winds

Never turn your back on friends.

What became of them? Well, they died. Over the centuries, almost to the last, they were slaughtered and watched their kingdoms burn and friends fall as the devastation of Melkor came to fruition. But their oath held them, and never could they return to the undying lands.

Nightfall

Quietly crept in and changed us all

Nightfall

Immortal land lies down in agony.

Loss can be a cruel thing indeed, and many of us in this world will see the things we hold dearest taken from us, devalued, or destroyed. But it is in these times when our faith in decency must be the most powerful. For to allow the sting of death and time to turn us away from what is good and enduring is the most painful loss of all.

-Brad OH Inc.

‘Alas for Gondolin’

Under the Green Desk Lamp…

Green Desklamp

Now I look back to Gondolin,

That city bright and fair.

With endless song and shining towers,

And fountains crystal clear.

Its seven gates had warded us,

From the darkening and doubt.

And in our hidden valley dear,

We shut all others out.

Built so proud upon its hill,

A beacon true and sure.

That song and jest and merriment,

Through madness might endure.

We raised it up from barren stone,

To stand the test of time.

Its towers gleamed beneath the sun,

And love and peace were mine.

But where love blossoms

Envy too, takes root in hearts less fair.

The serpents came, and brought their ruin,

And laid my city bare.

So through the mountains we did fly,

To safety in the south.

Where still remained a people free,

Upon the Sirion’s mouth.

But as I passed I turned once more,

My fear and doubts to tame.

No city white did meet my sight,

Nothing but smoke and flame.

The cries I heard, the screams and clash,

The death of all I’d known.

That hope for all should sunder one

From his beloved home.

At last my gaze turned to the West,

Where the setting sun grew dim.

And there I dreamed I saw a star.

…Alas for Gondolin.

-Brad OH Inc.

The Evocation Series- ‘This is Your Sword’

Under the Green Desk Lamp…

Green DesklampThe following post is part of ‘The Evocation Series’. Click Here for more information about the project, and how to get involved yourself!

Bruce Springsteen- ‘This is Your Sword’

Song Link

I can still feel the warmth—curled up in the nook of her leg on that old flower-upholstered couch. So too can I recall the sound of his voice as he read page after page—taking me out into that road and off toward all the adventure and wonder to follow.

I heard of elves and men, dragons and orcs. Tales of courage and valor in the face of great odds, and of the importance of doing what is right, no matter how insignificant you may feel in the grand scheme of things.

We are all important, and we can all serve our role in making the world a better place.

…this is your Sword.

They would work together in the telling, and I would sit silent in rapture—broken only on occasion to ask some question or demand some clarification.

I learned about fellowships and faith, family and friends—about hope in the face of doubt, and love in spite of loss. I remember sitting wide-eyed as mercy and kindness prevailed over cruelty and despair.

I remember deciding that they truly could.

…this is your Shield.

‘The times they are dark, darkness covers the earth
But this world’s filled with the beauty of God’s work
Hold tight to your promise, stay righteous, stay strong
For the days of miracles will come along…’

…I still remember.

-Brad OH Inc.

Free J.R.R. Tolkien and Middle Earth Mythology Lessons Now Available

cropped-cropped-blogbanner13.jpgHere at Brad OH Inc., there’s no doubt our readers look to us as a source of unceasing encouragement—a veritable role-model of decency and high-minded ideals. Now that’s no easy feat for a multi-national super-corporation like us, but we’ve always found that the best way to clean out the closet and embrace the public good is with a bit of good old fashioned public service!

Now, it’s about time for us to up our karma score, so to that end we are announcing a brand new public service available exclusively from Brad OH Inc.

As of today, and extending on into the great vastness of infinity, Brad OH Inc. is offering FREE sessions on the History/ Mythology of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-Earth to our readers and friends.

Have you always wondered just who that Sauron character was and where he came from?

What about the Balrog?

Where was Elrond’s wife?

Do you long to know more about the heartbreaking tale of Beren and Luthien, or the incredible duel between Fingolfin and Morgoth? Of course you do! Who doesn’t?

Well, now you don’t have to sit and idly wonder any longer. Just contact us through this site (or any other means you have—creep!) and let us know exactly what you need. Maps? History? Specific questions? Musical references? You name it—we here at Brad OH Inc. have got it in spades! We’re happy to share the knowledge we’ve acquired over long years of dedicated nerdiness, all while working to improve public perceptions around our compassionate little Corporation.

There’s a link below to click for contacts and inquiries, but please, form an orderly line—we’ll get to each and every question in the order they arrive (or by personal preference).

-Contact Us Here.

-Brad OH Inc.

I Found God in the Drums of ‘Boléro’

Under the Green Desk Lamp…

Green Desklamp

This article is inspired by the classical piece ‘Boléro’ (Link), by Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) (Link). If you aren’t familiar with that piece, it should be considered required listening for the article to follow. You can find it here (Link).

I listened to this piece recently, and found an unexpected intensity within its plodding rhythm. I hadn’t put the song on for any specific reason, yet early in, I understood the depth of the moment I was having.

It should also be noted, perhaps, that I was at the time firmly entrenched in my (11th?) reading of J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘The Silmarillion’ (Link), a book to which I ascribe particular inspiration. So you should probably read that, too.

Nonetheless, my revelation started with the first beat of that oh-so-familiar snare-drum. Described as an ‘ostinato’, the pulsing rhythm of this opening drum continues throughout the entire song, remaining constant as everything else is thrown into chaos.

It struck me immediately as terribly spiritual, although it took me a while to articulate exactly why that was.

You see, in ‘The Silmarillion’, the one God, Eru Illúvatar, conceives of creation as music—performed by his angels, the Ainur. The Ainur sing his tune, but among them is the spirit Melkor, who sews discord into the song, and causes turmoil. Some of the Ainur join in Melkor’s discord, while Eru adds new themes to the music to counterbalance Melkor’s efforts.

In the end, when all music stops, Illúvatar offers the Ainur an opportunity to see what they have done, and creates the world and all existence to reflect the reality of his divine tune. Unto the Ainur he says, “Mighty are the Ainur, and mightiest among them is Melkor; but that he may know, and all the Ainur, that I am Ilúvatar, those things that ye have sung, I will show them forth, that ye may see what ye have done. And thou, Melkor, shalt see that no theme may be played that hath not its uttermost source in me, nor can any alter the music in my despite. For he that attempteth this shall prove but mine instrument in the devising of things more wonderful, which he himself hath not imagined.” (Pg. 17)

Since childhood, this story always struck me as one of the most apt and inspiring metaphorical representations of the divine will. And so, as I listened to the ever-increasing notes of ‘Boléro’ rising above and competing with the persistent drum-beat in the background, this was the idea that settled in my mind.

The Silmarillion goes on to tell of the events of Middle-Earth being a representation of the Music of the Ainur, and assures us that although great evil does occur, its power is limited, and in the end all things turn to the greater good. This requires a lot of faith, but it’s something I’ve held onto since first reading it as a young elementary school boy—hoping that it would prove true in our world as it does in this fantastical place.

Throughout the duration of ‘Boléro’, the snare drums maintain their eternal beat in perfect rhythm. Meanwhile, horns and woodwinds, strings and symbols are taken up against the drums. They increase endlessly throughout the song, rising to an incredible cacophony and very nearly drowning out the snare drums which are their source.

At times, the listener can barely hear the drums, but when the music changes, or when there is a brief silence in the din, they are ever to be found beneath the turmoil, just as they were before. Patient, persistent, eternal.

Taking this in, I couldn’t help but feel I heard God in those snare drums. The music rising against it was like the duelling theme of Melkor—want and greed and malice and destruction. These are present still in our world, and will often threaten to overwhelm the senses of those unguarded ears who know not how to find the consistency of Grace beneath.

Much like the confusion of the composition at hand, it’s easy to get lost in this world. These days, perhaps more than ever, the myriad distractions and temptations we meet each day are easily sufficient to overwhelm the senses and deafen us to reason and decency. It takes a concerted effort and a determined will for us to focus on what is right and just, when so much around us seems so dark and hopeless.

But of late, I have seen greater evidence of Grace and beauty in this world than I have long held possible. It’s buried no doubt, often times nearly beyond reach. And all the while the daily racket of industry, and want, and loneliness and grief compete for our ear, turning us away from the true rhythm of the world and focussing us only on ourselves.

But to miss the rhythm is to miss the point entirely.

For no matter how dismal the world can be, there is light to be found, and beneath the din there is the rhythm of Grace for any with the will to listen for it. Immutable and constant, it plods along as it always has, unaffected and undeterred by all the competing noise, and when the racket of distraction dies down, its beauty sounds out all the clearer.

I know it isn’t easy. The clamour of discontent can be deafening, and it is often all too easy to fall into this discord and march along with the madness rather than keep to course. But this is folly, for no matter how distant it may seem, for every evil there is goodness still. Where there is hate, there is also love. Where there is terror, there may also be found mercy. For the loneliness of a consumerist society there remains the comfort of the family home. There is friendship, and loyalty, and faith, and hope, and honour…for every conceivable darkness, there is a light which can still set things right.

The drums of decency pound on, and when the din of darkness rises too high for the ears to readily perceive them, all the more must we focus our hearts and minds to that eternal rhythm, and trust that all will unfold according to that divine beat.

-Brad OH Inc.

Brad OH Inc. Among Legends

cropped-cropped-blogbanner13.jpgToday, we have an exclusive treat for all our fans. Below, you’ll witness photographic evidence of the good folks at Brad OH Inc. taking their rightful place among legends.

SAMSUNGDon’t forget to pick up your copy of ‘Between the Shelves: A Tribute to Libraries by Edmonton Writers‘ by clicking the image above.

-Brad OH Inc.