Awake and wistful

Can’t seem to get to sleep tonight. Maybe because I didn’t really do enough today to tire myself out. Or it could have something to do with the Coke I drank three hours ago.

The more romantic notion is that I have a lot on my mind. It’s kind of true… lots of stuff has been banging around in there lately. Equal parts of fear, anger, happiness, desire, wonder, doubt, desire, sorrow, and about a million other things. Loneliness percolates to the top more often than not. I do just about everything I can to alleviate that one. I spend a lot of time going out and hanging out with friends. I’ve eaten out alone and gone to movies on my own. I’m also talking to my folks a lot; they keep me in touch with their corner of the world often. Though at the same time, I feel kind of lame that they’re the only ones who ever send me instant messages when I’m online…

My parents are feeling kind of depressed lately. I know my dad has been getting large doses of mortality. The other day he and my mom were at breakfast with his uncle Mickey and a circle of uncle Mickey’s friends… and one of them keeled over and died at the breakfast table. Bam, just like that. This guy, Bernie – he had a weak heart valve, and he’d had it replaced; the doctors had told him that one of these days, it would give, and it’d be over, just like that. And that’s exactly what happened. He was in his seventies, and he’d led a full life; heck, he was even having a great time at breakfast, laughing it up with his gang.

But my folks took it pretty hard. They’re both going to turn fifty next year, and people they know are starting to die more and more often. Some of their friends and family, people of their age, are getting divorced even after decades of marriage. And they’re totally on their own – I’m up here in Massachusetts, and my sisters are in NYC. They’ve just got each other at this point. And they have to take care of my dad’s mom (she lives with them) and my mom’s grandmother, all of which is a pretty hefty burden. I worry about them all a lot.

So, other things on my mind… there’s the WotC setting search contest. Supposedly they’re going to contact the ten winners some time in the next few days. If you have no idea what I’m talking about… Wizards of the Coast, the publishers of Dungeons & Dragons, came up with a talent search/contest: you send in a one page description of a fantasy setting/campaign world, following their guidelines to the letter; they pick ten semi-finalists in phase one who get to expand the one page into a ten page treatment, then they select three finalists in phase two. Those three finalists get ten grand in cash money, in advance, to write a one hundred page bible. After submitting the bible, they get another ten grand. WotC picks one of those three bibles to become the newest campaign setting for Dungeons & Dragons – creating novels, minis games, card games, and publishing D&D books for the setting. All of which the creator gets a first crack at creating him or herself.

Oh, and the creator who gets picked gets a hundred grand from WotC to purchase the rights to the setting. $120,000.00 for 111 pages. BTW, that works out to about $2.16 per word. Roughly.

So, there it is in a nutshell. I submitted the first page. It’s probably an astonishing act of ego that I’m even wasting my time thinking that I could be one of the ten picked for the first round. They got 10,000 entries, of which 8,000 were pretty solid (from one of the guys reading the entries, who posted to a message board at the WotC site). My idea (a post-apocalyptic fantasy world) is probably echoed by a hundred of those 8,000… maybe more, lots more. Could my one page really have been good enough to take the idea to the next round?

Maybe. And that maybe is haunting me. What if the stupid envelope never even made it into their hands, like it got lost in the mail or something? I’d never even know if that were the case. How stupid is that train of thought? I keep saying to myself that after they announce the winners, I should still keep writing the ten page assignment and hundred page bible as a good exercise. Maybe I could even pitch it to another game company or something.

Hope is such a fragile and pathetic thing. I really shouldn’t cling to it like this, but I really can’t help myself. Even just making it to the top ten would be an amazing accomplishment in my mind. Heck, it’d give me some kind of a name, and maybe I could use that to get more writing work…

Just got to wait and see. The days keep marching on… sooner or later I’ll know one way or the other.

What else is on my mind… well, we don’t need to get into that. You know full well what else is on my mind. All I really need is someone similarly minded to, ahem, bounce some ideas off of…