What is aphantasia? Aphantasia is a wiring fault in the brain that limits or completely blocks off a person’s ability to envision, recall/remember, or otherwise visualize anything in their mind. There are various stages of aphantasia. Some people can ONLY recall, and have no visual imagination. Some people can’t recall but have some ability to ‘create pictures in their head.’ Some people can’t remember what something smells, tastes, or feels like.
I have complete aphantasia. This means I have zero ability to create pictures in my head, remember images, remember sounds, remember textures (without feeling them directly), and so on.
For an example: I need my IRL friends to take a picture/selfie of themselves when they come to see me/I go to meet them somewhere. Aphantasia means I have no idea who I am looking for in a crowd. I reference their photo and then look for someone who is like the person I am looking for. When I see them, recognition is immediate. They’re in my memories, but I have no way of accessing those memories. The neuropathway in my brain is non-functional.
But, I am a goddess at meditation. Dark silent place in my brain? That is my default, baby.
This actually helps me on the centering portion of having a mental illness. It’s much easier to center when I can close my eyes and cut off reality, because all I get when my eyes are closed is the void.
So, why the picture of the map above?
I am working on an urban fantasy/paranormal romance mystery series. No, I’m not revealing the pen name, although I just gave you the genre as a clue. (My patreons will learn of the pen name first, as they will receive the book around the book’s release date. (Several days prior, so if they DID preorder the ‘debut’ book, they have a chance to cancel if they would like.)
The map will be a clear and present identifier of the series, as I will be releasing copies of the maps on the pen name’s website so people can reference it.
Aphantasia bit me in the ass because this city is huge. This city is large enough to eat… uhm… 20-25 Manhattan Islands. (Manhattan Island is 2.3 miles x 13.4.)
The city, which will not be named (as that would help identify the pen name (and NO don’t look for it yet, it hasn’t been put up ANYWHERE so you can’t find what doesn’t exist)) is 38 miles by 32 miles at its core.
It is massive. It’s not Long Island massive, though. (120 miles by 28 miles for the curious.)
The problem here is this city doesn’t exist in Google maps. I made it up. I use Google maps a lot to reference a real city I’m writing in. Aphantasia basically requires it.
There is no Google maps here.
I had to make Google maps. There will be buildings I will literally be drawing for the sake of my murder mystery.
On days like today, aphantasia fucking sucks.
This map represents approximately 15 or so hours of my life. I needed to consider every element of general human (and other life) and figure out how a species with a universal trait of potential insanity would lay out their city.
Oh, there’s an underground, too, so this entire map will have to be recreated in the same scale, shape, and so on to reflect where shit is on the surface compared to the underground city.
This, ladies and gentlemen and others, is what the end of my rope looks like. There are approximately 35 sectors of this city I need to also do. I have completed two of the smaller sectors as they were referenced in the book I am writing.
But look at all those nice green spaces for the residents. Wasn’t that nice of the asshole city builder? (Me. Wasn’t that nice of me?)
Please note that the map doesn’t list like every little gas station, etc–if I require a “blow up” version of a sector, I will recreate the map with the actual buildings/designs on a new sheet. So some of those orange spaces, which are residential, might have a tiny corner store or gas station. Or the blue ones. The only ones that DON’T get things like that are the doctor clinics/hospitals, fire houses, police stations, and parks, unless the park has a retail center listed in its section.
And this is how I preserved my sanity.
I couldn’t write the book without the map, so… map. (Fucking aphantasia.)