This page is for answering those questions about Dark Cloud, her world, and General Issues I’d like to share. Rather than repeat myself for multiple people, let me just put it in one space.
If you’ve got a question please let me know! I may put my answer up here for others to see in the future, who may have the same question.
- What is Synesthesia? It’s DC’s super-power, but what is it?
- You address social issues in Dark Cloud. Do you have a pet issue that you can’t seem to work into these stories?
Q: What is Synesthesia? It’s DC’s super-power, but what is it?
A: I can best answer this by reiterating a Blog post, here:
I was sitting on the fence with regards to putting this next post up. Then I talked to a friend and found out she experiences the same thing! That’s it. I’m running into too many other people for whom this is true. Time to write about it:
A number of people have asked me what Synesthesia is. It’s one aspect of the character of Dark Cloud, though there’s a lot more to it for her. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about it:
“Synesthesia is a perceptual phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway.”
People with Synesthesia ‘taste’ colors. They might look at a shade of violet and experience a certain taste in their mouth. (For me, it’s anything along the spectrum of yellow to all shades of brown. Lemon Drops? Chocolate? Fudge? Really tempts me from my diet.) They may assign colors to given days, or personalities to numbers, or place a spatial sense on a calendar. There are so many things it can be. Listening to music sure is a trip for me, given the show of light, color, shape, and movement that plays out between my ears in the process of listening to it. Very inspirational! Very entertaining…
But to really explain what the character of DC experiences, I have to go a step further. I also have to drop the separation of myself from the character for a moment, because the only way to really explain how that character perceives the world is to share how I perceive the world. DC just experiences it in a more augmented form. Exaggeration for the sake of fiction, to make a point.
For me, and I’m sure many others, it goes beyond ‘tasting’ colors. This is probably something different, but related, that I’m going to share here:
It’s a sense where you can look at a tree and be aware of the life flowing through it’s core and branches, of the leaves and their relationship to the rest of the plant. – And more.
It’s an expanded sense of touch. I see things separate from myself, but I also feel them. Partially dependent on my sight-line, I often feel about 25 feet beyond myself in all directions, walls in place or not. I feel the density of air through that sense of touch and know, without seeing, that something is in that space or not. One day I became aware of how automatically I’ve been drawing on this when I walked from the bedroom to the office, past the closed curtains that lead to the office (no way I could have seen outside,) and felt that the car was not outside under the carport, so I knew that Evan was out and about on an errand. The area under the carport felt less dense, so I knew the car was gone. Logically that doesn’t make sense, but that’s how the experience came across. I’m also sometimes wrong, so this is very low grade.
One time I hugged someone, and mentally their body became a transparent burgundy, with the bones quite clear. I looked at their shoulder in front of me, saw something odd, and asked, “Do you have a surgical pin in your shoulder?” Yes, he did. I then went on the describe what it looked like in detail; the gold-colored endings; the type of plastic that looks transparent in a thin layer, but then looks oddly white as it gets thick – that kind of tone. Yes, he told me. I was right.
Incidents like the latter are special, though. It all depends on how much is competing for my attention at any given point, and how much I bother to slow down and listen to the vast array of input that available to us all.
Things like this happen with me all the time! I’ve only scratched the surface here, in regards to what I pick up on and how – every day!
Let me just clarify one thing now: Just like DC, I hate the term ‘psychic’ – nor is any of this about predicting the future. I’m not saying that’s what any of this is. Some day science will understand all this, but in the meantime it still exists. It’s just not generally acknowledged that some people’s senses work like this.
In the process of just talking, it dawned on both myself and Evan that he doesn’t perceive the world this way at all. He can’t do any of this, but at least he doesn’t try to tell me that I’m deluding myself. After all, I can’t be the only one. I suspect there are a lot of people like me. We just happen to live in a society that doesn’t even acknowledge the range of variation that actually exists.
It can give an additional depth of perception. If you’re sitting on the fence about figuring something or someone out, it can give that little extra information that lets a person make a decision. Example: One time I looked at someone (who later turned out to be trying to deceive me,) and I couldn’t decide whether to trust them or not. (They were trying to borrow money and assured me I’d get it back.) I told myself, “If this had an additional dimension, what would it look like?” I then saw them with a transparent, aluminum-like, angular mask over their face, kind of like a ‘layer’ in Photoshop, that was definitely constructed. I decided that their words were constructed to give an impression as well, but it was not the substance underneath. I decided not to trust them. I was right.
There’s a movie out that illustrates all this incredibly well. It’s also incredibly over the top, so don’t watch it and think that’s what world is like for me. It’s very much a matter of degree. It’s called ‘Lucy’ (2014), starring Scarlett Johansson.
Premise aside (that this is all due to using more brain capacity,) there’s so much that character does that I can relate to – and that DC does as well. I don’t know that it comes out strongly enough in this version of Dark Cloud, but it’s there: Of course, for DC it’s way over the top from how I perceive things, but it’s the same concept.
Awesome movie, BTW. I definitely recommend it. Even the major observations that the main character makes about life, matter, inter-relationship, and time, when she sits down with Morgan Freeman and the other scientists, are thing I can vouch for from my own awareness. I couldn’t improve on that dialogue. Somebody knew what they were talking about when they created that film.
It all makes for an incredible awareness when I travel to the Desert. Expansive. Big. Powerful. Throbbing with an unseen Force and many smaller Forces within, equally intangible and without human form, but just as present – and yes, they all have personalities.
So Synesthesia is actually just the start. It’s a term that provides an anchor-point in understanding. One day maybe I’ll have the chance to sit down with a neurologist or other cognitive specialist, and learn from them just how much all this stuff is really defined at this point. Hey, I got to adulthood before I ever found out about Synesthesia. How much else is not really known by the general public, but if you talk to someone who works in the fields of the perceptual sciences, they know exactly what you’re talking about?
I’m not so sure that Synesthesia and the like is caused by ‘wrong’ wiring in the brain either, like we get told (invariably by doctors who don’t experience this.) I’ve been comparing notes with others who experience things like this, enough, that I’m starting to think it’s more like an additional layer of perception. It’s taking information that most people can perceive, and running it through an additional layer of processing. That’s not ‘wrong’. That’s augmented.
I have no data for the following idea, but I’d be very interested in learning if people who have ADD, Tourette’s Syndrome, or something like that tend to experience things like Synesthesia by default. It would make perfect sense if they did. Those are conditions where the mind is in overdrive. Mentally, those people are going Warp 27 in at least part of their thinking. People like that tend to thrive on challenges and in occupational fields that would seem like chaos or are overwhelming to most people. (The ‘herding cats’ aspect of actually pulling off a film? Yup…) I suspect this is something that goes hand in hand with all that too. I just have no data to say one way or the other, so for now it’s just a logical presupposition.
Then, there are people like Evan, who don’t experience the world that way at all. Bless him; he doesn’t try to tell me that the way I perceive the world is B.S. There are people who will do that as well – and have tried to pull it on me. They’re blind, relatively speaking, so they won’t be happy until they convince everyone else that they’re blind too.
I don’t demand that everyone else perceive the world the same way myself, Dark Cloud, and Lucy do (especially on such a broad, over-the-top way as portrayed fictionally.) I DO ask not to be judged for it. I DO insist on my right to exist as I am.
I also know I can’t be the only one. That’s been another reason for creating Dark Cloud.
Q:You address social issues in Dark Cloud. Do you have a pet issue that you can’t seem to work into these stories?
A: YES, and it’s one that bugs the tar out me. It’s also one that I had no warning of, and has held me back a lot in life before I learned to spot it. (Remember, I didn’t have any Ricardo de Castile to prepare me for the world!) After I learned to spot it? Men still tried to pull it. I’d just get rid of them sooner. It really is a huge wast of time and energy…
First, let me say that not all men are bad guys. Most men at least try to be considerate, and are certainly willing to correct a behavior if it’s contributing to the problem and it’s pointed out to them. There just so happen to be a small percentage of bad apples who get around. Those bad apples do a lot of damage. I’ll talk more about that in a bit.
The biggest thing that young women have to deal with is NOT someone out to kill them, like in Dark Cloud. (If you’re the exception, then my apologies…) Rather, the biggest danger is men who will target them, want them, and then do whatever it takes through manipulation to get them to make their lives revolve around HIM, or what HE thinks her life should be. It works like this:
- He decides he wants her. (This can take a micro-second at times.)
- He then acts very nice to her and gets her to talk about her interests.
- Once he has a feel for what she’s interested in, he then says he’s an expert on that very thing, and will help her achieve that goal – but there’s a catch:
- To achieve that goal, he tells her that she then needs to stick with him.
- He then deflects from HER goals, as long as he gets what he wants, with HIS goal in mind that she will eventually give up and make her life revolve around him or what he wants her to do.
[I actually had an employer at one point who said he’d help me reach my goal of getting a film out of all this, when in fact he did everything to turn me into his personal ‘company call girl’, for his company, to sleep with whomever he directed. It didn’t work and I got out of there soon enough, but boy, did it screw my head to a wall for some time!]
This is actually all related to Mansplaining. Ever heard that term? That’s where, regardless of how much the woman knows about a given subject, the man always acts like he knows more. Example: One time I was dating a salesperson and told him about my goals. He instantly encouraged me to get 20 friends together, max out our credit cards, and shoot the film adaptation that way. That’s actually the worst way to do it, BTW. I let it slide (something you should never do,) and went on to describe how to shoot a chase scene when you’ve got one camera, which, depending on your budget may be the case. (You repeatedly back up and shoot it again, but from different angles.) He rolled his eyes like I’d said something iffy and said, “Well, I guess you could shoot it that way.” Long story short, he’s read 2 articles on how to make a film, and I’d studied it for 2 years – but he insisted that he knew more and better how I should proceed. (His real goal was to sleep with me.)
Know this right now: He’s not engaging in this behavior because you’re special. It’s because he’s manipulative and controlling – and there are a lot of men out there like this! People used to say, “You can’t blame a guy for trying.” I CAN. Watch me. It’s Fraud, plain and simple, and should be prosecutable under the law as such; but it happens to women, so who cares, right?. It’s the sort of behavior that my mother’s friends used to ‘correct’ me about, saying, “Oh! It’s a compliment.” NO. It’s NOT. This is exactly what keeps women from getting ahead. I just wish one of those men who told me he’d be my mentor really meant it, rather than it turning out to be a line.
If this has happened to you, know that you are not alone. It’s a big problem! I just wish someone had taught me about it rather than having to learn the hard way! So I’m sharing it here.
If I can think of a comeback way to stop it cold, I’ll put it up here. In the meantime, if you spot it: Shut.Them.Down.Cold and have nothing further to do with them. It’s just a big huge game.
If you happen to be Male and are reading this, know that it is in your own best interest to police the behavior of other men. Assholes have a ripple effect. The woman that you just met and want to date or be professionally involved with? She may have been the one that your friend, in the locker room, was bragging about having shafted in some way last year, before you met her. Guess What: You now have 2 strikes against you before you ever get involved, even professionally, because in her mind she’s going to be wondering, “Is he going to pull the same thing?” Guys, you really need to pay attention to what women are saying in the #MeToo movement.
And it’s more than just the woman you want to date or form a working relationship with. This is what your Mother has experienced. What your Sister deals with. What your Daughter encounters, your Niece… This is why women’s issues are not abstract, and why it’s in your best interest to police the behavior of other men. The results hit very close to home, and even impact the finances in your own household and your own psychological well-being, because you see the results every day.
Here’s a simple experiment to illustrate the point. Take a blank sheet of paper, and on one side, ask only men, “What do you do, on a daily basis, to avoid being a victim of sexual assault?” That side of the paper should stay pretty blank. Then, on the other side, ask only women the same question. You will see that side of the paper fill up very quickly with a far from exhaustive list: Don’t live on the ground floor of an apartment building. Don’t wear earphones when jogging. Get a big dog. Have a man’s voice on the answering service. Make sure your address lists only initials so they can’t tell you’re female. Don’t open the door after a certain hour. Watch how you dress. Don’t go places alone. Have your keys ready before you approach your car. Keep alert to the people around you. The list just goes on! Imagine if all the energy put into staying safe was redirected towards productivity. How much more would society get done? Also, why do you think I paired DC with a combat robot?
Not all men are like that, but it’s a shame that I had to be some ways along in life before I found that out. The real jerks of this world have a way of getting around – so Guys, please police the behavior of other men! There’s a ripple effect that’s going to come around and bite you, too. The saying, “What goes around comes around,” is especially true here, because a woman is always a woman, and a man always a man. She can’t help but see things from a female perspective and her own experiences, because that’s all she encounters. (Transgender people being somewhat excepted; my apologies.) Anything else is the outside looking in – for both sides.
A person will never fully grasp a perspective that they don’t live. If the only thing she encounters is men who are either out to manipulate / use her in this way, or at best are indifferent, then how do you Guys expect to be seen in a positive light? If she connects the dots and realizes, “Wait – It’s only men who are hurting me in ‘X’ way,” then all men are going to get blamed for it. Then nobody gets laid. That’s everybody’s problem.
The last 3 paragraphs touch on an issue I can work into a story. Dark Cloud starts meeting nice guys (like Coyote Joe and Blade.) Then, when she meets even more nice guys, she finally has a large enough sample size that she starts wondering, “Gee, maybe there are some nice guys out there, after all.”
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