Hello, my name is mark and I'm a geek. Sad but true. It's like 3am. I got back from a party and found myself logged in. Reading E-mail in three separate accounts. I'm not even sure how it happened. First I was going to go to bed, then I remembered there was a show I might like to see, then the next thing I know, I'm reading webpages and mucking with editor settings.
No officer, I swear, I just slipped and boom it was logged in. Really.
OK, vim is driving me nuts. It simply won't line wrap for me. Gah.
Not to switch the subject suddenly but I've been trying to figure out why I'm drawn to writing again. I've tried and tried to start before but never found the right groove. It came out hollow and dull. Now, I'm pounding this stuff out faster than I can type and looking for more work writing. I even have a possible contract-y job for writing about http servers.
They even want to gvet sidebar and little tip and hint things from me. They like me scatter-brained! I'm positively vibrating over this. Giddy even. Pehaps that's why I'm up at this ungodly hour whacking a keyboard rather than taking pot-shots at sugar-plums or whatever.
The odd thing I'm ruminating over this evening is the lovely latin phrase Deus Ex Machina. Oddly, but not suprisingly, most people get the translation of this all screwed up. See way back in the day, just after we stopped riding dinosaurs around, there was an entire civilization of gay poets called the Greek. Being physically unable to spend the entire day doing unmentionable things to each others asses, and having invented a perfectly good agrarian society so that they could enslave the women and their weaker natives, they had to find other ways to pass the lesiure time.
Honestly, if you want a real history of this shit, buy a book.
Eventually, these buggery fanatics hit upon a great idea: theater. The problem was, like all writing, it had to have a point. It turns out that having a point is harder than it appears. I mean how many shows can you do about sleeping with your mother or an entire island full of lesbians. Really. At some point you just have to come up with a new idea here and there. Hollywood tries to get at least one new idea every year.
Since I don't want angry "Greek-o-philes" mailing me corrections, keep in mind that this stuff is supposed to be amusing. To ME! If I enjoy warping these things about, screw you. Of course I know that Lesbians were named after the island Lesbos, upon which a group of suppressed women decided they didn't need no men no more. It was a comedy you know. I not saying this is just that I'm trying.
So they struggled and struggled, getting good plays once in a while, again pretty much like Hollywood. On the other days, useless hack writers, who's future offspring would produce horrible rip-offs of Ian Fleming novels for TV movies, cranked out the drivel. Also pretty much like Hollywood. These hacks could usually come up with an amusing situation to put their characters into, but putting an ending on the story was harder.
The bright idea they came up with, they stole. Yah see, the biggest kind of play there was was the morality play. In the end, when the people are totally confused, the gods come in and explain the mess. Who's right and who's wrong is laid out by a god. Very convienient. Too convienent for the weak, pathetic playwrights, who decided that any play to hard to end up with a bang could be better handled by claiming it was a morality play and dropping in a god at the last moment.
I'm passing up a lot of Hollywood kicking here to keep this flowing. I figured you'd appreciate that.
Now, since it would be horribly sacreligious for a mere mortal to play a god, and since the gods had certain aspects that were expected up them, the Greeks resorted to the world's first special effects. They would lower a statue of the god down over the stage on a crane. Hey, a block and tackle counts for special effect when were talking hundred of years before Christ here.
Now hundreds of years later, the Romans come along, and really have no idea what they should do for a civilization, so they steal all the good stuff from the Greeks. Gods, plays, aquaducts, buggerey, everything. Pretty much the same way California was founded.
Damn, slipped with the CA thing.
One of the worst things Rome snagged was a penchant for ending plays with dunkin' gods. You see, the thing is, it's real easy to start a big story but it's damn hard to end one. Pop-up gods is just too easy. Thus, years and years later, this phrase began being used to describe this weak way to end a story.
Deus is obviously god. Ex sorta means of, in this case. Machina is the word that throws the normal people off. The phrase "Ghost in the Machine" comes up a lot. Unfortunately for them and me, the machina in this case is one of the most basic of machines, a big lever. Yup. the phrase means "crane of the gods." Sad but true. The lovely thing is it's come to mean cheating your way out of a tight plot point by having something unpredictable or unforeseen happen.
Just imagine right when Bonnie and the Sundance Kid are about to get shot down, if a great meteorite nailed the major marshall gun enplacement and they got away. That sorta crap just don't fly. Except in Meteorite movies where they always pull some way out of their ass to save the earth at the last moment but I'm not bitter or anything.
The funny thing is, I just got all this in my head and while rumaging it around I glommed on to something in my own brain I'd never caught before.
The reason I'm staying up late to write this stuff is that it is the first time I've had something to say. I'm starting with a point. Not just making one up near the end to top off a rousing good story. Or what I thought was a rousing good story. The deal is, I hadn't ever really got why dropping in a Deus was bad.
Having a point isn't one reason to write, it's the only reason. It's also the only thing that makes the story worth reading. Or interesting. And now I'm jazzed. About writing for the first time. Up until now I was just jazzed about being a writer. The difference is enormous.
And that's the real point here. I'm starting to have a point. I'm starting to write rather than just tell a story. The difference is enormous.