From the Vault: The Fires of Mordor

Yesterday, I decided that I'd reach into The Vault a few times this week, and reprint some holiday-related posts. 

While I combed through the WWdN archives, I came across this post, which I haven't thought about pretty much since I wrote it. It has nothing to do with the holidays, but I still like it. I'm reprinting it today so I can remember a time when I didn't feel so self conscious about my writing, could totally lose myself in a moment, and do my very best to fearlessly capture it in words.

We are under partly cloudy skies today here in Pasadena. All day long, the blue sky has been brilliant and beautiful. The few clouds that dot the sky are small and fluffy, blown at incredible speeds by the high altitude winds, and illuminated to a magnificently bright white by the sun.

About 20 minutes ago, the sun began to set, and I watched as it put silver linings behind cloud after cloud as it sank into the west. Shortly after the horizon took it away for another day, the sun did an amazing thing: it illuminated the only cloud in the sky, a monstrous one — several thousand feet cross, at least — which hung over my house. The cloud acted as a giant reflector, bouncing yellow, then orange, then red light down upon my neighborhood.

At first, the yellow light was beautiful, bringing out a brilliance in the lawns and leaves seldom seen in winter. Then, the orange light became a little creepy, casting the same muted color as sunlight filtered through the smoke of a brushfire.

When the light turned red, though, it was positively scary. The red glow that it washed over the Earth was straight out of the fires of Mount Doom.

As the light turned from orange to red, my mom called me, and asked me if it looked like the world was coming to an end over my house, too. I laughed, and told her that it did.

Then a Ring Wraith knocked on my door, and I politely hung up the phone.

Remember when Lord of the Rings ruled the world with a power and inevitability challenged and equalled only by frozen yogurt shops in the 80s? Those were some magical days, Precioussss. We loves them.

31 thoughts on “From the Vault: The Fires of Mordor”

  1. I have seen clouds like that and days like that. Once, while watching the clouds, a friend and I saw one cloud that looked like a funnel cloud. We lived where there was never a tornado so it made us nervous and fascinated us and prompted her telling me an exciting tornado story, though I think she made the whole thing up.
    Being self conscious about our writing is what keeps us from doing it and then the world will never read what we have to say and that would be a shame.
    I’m glad you keep writing along.

  2. Sounds lovely!
    @Lisa – isn’t selling it for that price. It’s sold by 3rd party sellers and they are selling it for $172 (though I’m not exactly sure why). ^_^

  3. I’m not sure WTF is going on with Just A Geek, to be honest. The publisher let the hardback go out of print, then released a paperback, which I guess they’ve also let go out of print just in time for the holidays. Brilliant!
    I have a fantastic audio version for sale, though, that I’d consider the Author’s Definitive Preferred Version™, which may be an appropriate substitute.

  4. Oh yeah, that’s intelligent. I wish I’d paid attention to your sidebar before. My husband would have liked a copy of a couple of your books for Christmas probably. He enjoys reading your blog from time to time — when he’s not reading comics. *sigh* :-)
    Oh well, there is always after Christmas…though I’m not sure that link was accurate because if it was I am not about to pay $172 for a paperback book. Your good…but that good? Hmmmm….

  5. I remember when the new Lord of the Rings trilogy was still in the midst of being released in theaters. They have aged quite well, although they aren’t quite as impressive as they once were. That being said, The Battle at Helms Deep is still one of the greatest sequences ever put to film.

  6. Very nice! Combining a couple of posts – have you played any of the LOTR board games? There is a nice cooperative one, and we just bought an expansion and another LOTR game that we have yet to try because we’ve been too busy playing the Doom and Beowulf board games we bought at the same time. Really I just want to keep playing Small World and/or Dominion, as I’ve yet to win and it is driving me crazy! To sum up: love your gaming posts. :)

  7. I emailed you a while ago, recommending you change your “Read My Books” links to more accessible versions, but it was while your computer was in the shop.

  8. Ah yes, the good ole days. Sitting back watching the end draw near with a Penguins Frozen Yogurt in hand (vanilla with crushed Butterfingers). But, the end never came and Penguins got on that boat with Gandalf and Bilbo and left the world of man.

  9. I’ve been high on a snow covered mountain when that orange glow effect hit – never forgot it. Imagine snowshoeing down a steep mountain in 8 feet of puffy orange snow – I felt like I was in another world.
    I even took a pic because I knew you wouldn’t believe me (although the pic doesn’t do the surrealness of the moment justice)
    I’m bored as spit today – maybe I’ll watch LOR… (see what you’ve done?)

  10. Forget LOTR… you made me remember standing in line outside a movie theater for over an hour for The Phantom Menace, having no idea Jar Jar Binks would be so annoying.

  11. My brother and I waited in line for 12 hours with some of our friends, and played Magic the whole time.
    To say we were disappointed by the time the movie ended would be an understatement of extraordinary magnitude.

  12. This is why I have read your blog for what seems like an eternity.Why in the world would you EVER feel self conscious about THIS kind of writing gift???? You know that song Boys Of Summer by Henley? That song fits the scenery you just described. Brilliant. Please do more blogs like this one Wil!! You have a gift like no other.

  13. Yep. We're no Lining Up people, but it was a great way for us to be first in line, and to make it a real event.
    Too bad the movie didn't live up to … well, anything, did it?

  14. Wesley Crusher may have been annoying, but he didn't single-handedly destroy an entire generation's childhood memories by ruining an entire universe…

  15. In 2004, I visited the US; it was evening as I prepared to fly out from Denver to Atlanta, and I looked out the window towards the west. Low black clouds hovered seemingly inches above the mountain range, which was almost black as night. The clouds above were the same – but between them, the dying sunlight was blood red, a thin band differentiating the land and sky. And I swear it looked as though I was boarding Mordor Flight 171..

  16. The sunsets and mountains here in Tucson make it look like Mordor sometimes too. And to cap it off, there’s a really kickin’ frozen yogurt place down the street now.

  17. Self conscious about writing? Got a question for you, then.
    When you find yourself being self-conscious about your writing, do you suspect it’s anything like the feeling going through a young actor’s mind when they suddenly don’t know what to do with their hands?
    And, just incidentally, what kind of advice does one give to a young actor when they suddenly become inordinately aware of having nothing good to do with their hands?
    Does that advice translate, extrapolate, or mimic something we can use when we’re self-conscious about writing?
    We’re always looking for wisdom in our house. :-)

  18. Tucson’s a great city. We’re originally from Phoenix, and that’s where my wife wants us to live after I retire in the next couple of years.
    Phoenix is just a little too close to the relatives for me, though. :) I’d be happy living in Tucson…

  19. I love an expressive sky. We get them pretty often in the Great Plains. There’ve been a few times I’ve raced a stormfront home, the deep shores of soot-grey clouds roaring out of the north and west, heralded by howling winds and bringing lightning and floods in their wake. Man, that’s fun.
    When LotR ruled the world? Yeah, I remember when the LotR movies were a daydream, an impossible future I would conjure when I was a sad and lonely sixth-grader wishing that someone, somewhere, shared my love of the awesomeness that was the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. Dec 2001 to Dec 2003 was unreal. LotR popular? People pronouncing “Galadriel” correctly? Posters of Legolas up on teenage girls’ lockers? What is this hallucination and when am I going to wake up?

  20. My husband is in the Navy and we saw all three LOTR movies while stationed in Puerto Rico. It was really annoying when they’d be speaking in Elvish because you’d have to try and quickly translate the spanish subtitles to figure out what they were saying. I don’t think the local audiences were prepared for the abrupt ending of Fellowship. There was a lot of yelling, “Que?!??!! Que?!?!?!” at the end. By the third movie they were into it big time. Gasping, cheering, screaming at the screen. One of the all time most enjoyable movie-going experiences I have ever had. The funny thing was that Aragorn got way more hoots and hollers from the ladies than Legolas ever did. hehe.

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