Suze here, Scribe Fans, wishing you a glorious Thursday.
Up until a couple of days ago I had NO IDEA what I was going to talk about today. We’re Scribes, coming up on our first anniversary, and we’ve never missed a day posting — even through a multi-day power outage back in November. An uncomfortable feeling began to grow in the pit of my stomach at the thought I might be the one to break the perfect chain. The cogs of the idea machine needed grease and, unlike the Tin-Man, my oil can was dry.
Or so I thought. Because suddenly, out of the blue, something dropped into my lap. I should say, bombed me from the television screen. Did anyone see the news article about the woman in California who was forced into the side of a bridge by a tractor trailer? Her car was crushed like a ball of aluminum foil, balanced precariously over a hundred foot drop into a ravine. Her two young daughters were in the car with her. Miraculously, all three were still alive and did not have life-threatening injuries (the tractor trailer driver was not so lucky and did not survive). But because of the extreme damage to the car, and the way it was perched, rescue workers were unable to extract the family from the vehicle.
Then, a convoy of U.S. Navy Seabees just happened to be driving by. And in that convoy just happened to be a specialized piece of equipment: an extendable boom forklift. This was exactly what was needed to stabilize the car wreck to keep it from plummeting into the abyss below, enabling rescue workers to extricate the family and get them the medical treatment they needed. (Click HERE to learn more about the Seabees, the Navy’s Construction Battallions. My father-in-law was a Seabee, stationed in the Pacific in WWII)
I don’t mind admitting that I cried at the end of that news segment when the enormity of what had happened there, and what could have happened, registered. If that extendable boom forklift is not a real-life example of Deus Ex Machina, I don’t know what is.
The term Deus Ex Machina (literally: “God from Machine”) goes back to ancient Greek plays where, when all seemed lost and no resolution seemed possible, suddenly a god or goddess would descend on a mechanical platform and fix everything.
Tomorrow, Casey will be talking about world-building and Deus Ex Machina in fiction. Nowadays, the Deus Ex Machina is a no-no in stories. You’ll recognize it when you see it — perhaps a Samurai sword just happens to have been left by the heroine’s exhusband in the front hall closet, which she suddenly remembers when the villain stuffs her in there. It’s a little too convenient. Makes you roll your eyes and/or sigh in disgust.
But when the DEM happens in real life, like the serendipitous appearance of that forklift, it’s awe-inspiring. Ironic, huh?
So tell us: Have you ever had a real-life Deus Ex Machina moment, when the exact thing you most needed materialized?