Little Thoughts on a Big Part of Me

Thinking aloud about Couch, today. (From the “Big City, Little Magics” stories, of course.)

About what an actual horror she is.

About how one of the first things we know about her is that she kills people. Like, a lot.

And yeah, turns out it’s never on purpose. Doesn’t make the people any less dead, though.

And it’s not like she wouldn’t kill on purpose. Just, so far, she hasn’t had to, because she ends up destroying them involuntarily.

Which is, you know, not better.

Also, she’s angry. Pretty much all the time.

Because she’s anxious. Pretty much all the time.

She’s grouchy and picky and not very nice.

She’s a neurodivergent dragon in a world that doesn’t much like anyone of either of those descriptions.

The band knows all this about her.

Yet they still include her as a friend.

Because mixed in with the wrath, the danger, and the nuisance of her, there is also this:

Her consistent gentleness with Harkness.

Her availability to drive Sleeves around the AU Bay Area, despite not particularly enjoying Sleeves or driving.

As brave (and reckless) as it was for Amygdala to try to make a friend of Couch, it was likewise brave (and imprudent) of Couch to let her, and to reach back in mutual goodwill.

She shows Manchester much-needed kindnesses.

She is generous with her time, her things, her space – incredibly so, when one factors in the stress such generosity causes her.

In light of the whole of her, the band continually treats Couch as a creature worthy of love, care, and understanding.

This means the world to me – on a deep-down level – because Couch is (100% deliberately) a fictional manifestation of very real aspects of myself.

And if there are other characters inside me who can care for Couch that way, then that means I’ve got what it takes to demonstrate self-love.



Because I’m worth it. Darkness, weirdness, and all.

Big Personality! (Little Else Known)

Trying to pin down what Amygdala Wroth looks like has been tricky from the start because, unlike with the majority of my characters, I just jumped in assuming that she looked like me.

Not identical to, but like. And like can mean any number of things.

“And oh, Amygdala was so very happy. So excited. Her eyes sparkled like the world.” (Harkness, “Odd Pod”)

Often, when one hears a Person of Color talk about someone who looks like them, they mean merely someone who shares their race. By that measure, the only criteria for Amygdala’s appearance would be ‘apparently Black, apparently female’. Worlds of wiggle room, there – and at that point, nothing to differentiate her from Couch, until the narrative lists some dragon-specific features that will necessarily set the roommates’ looks apart.

Her presence turns his pathetic closet into a different world. A world half again as small, of course, but twenty times as bright. (Telemachus Cannon, “Chess Not Checkers”)

Eventually, we see Amygdala describe her hair as ‘wisteria-like’. When I wrote it, I intended to evoke the full, fluffy shape of a blooming wisteria tree bough. It wasn’t until I started fooling around with online dollmakers ‘n’ such that I realized Amygdala may have also been describing her hair’s color – a sort of soft purple-pink.

So, hair: Check. Skin: Brown. …Though I wasn’t 100% clear on the shade of brown. Darker than Harkness’s ‘a brown more creamy-fair’ was all I had in mind for sure. But what in relation to Couch? I didn’t want my brain to default to the assumption that Couch – as the dangerous, monstrous, moody one – was the darker of the two. That would be colorist AF. And in the title image I’ve been using since Big City, Little Magics” went up on Wattpad, the Amygdala face ended up being quite a dark shade of brown indeed – which, for all I knew or cared at the time, may have been close enough to her truth.

On the other hand, there were my collection of Picrew avatars and whatnot, in which her skin sported a rainbow of browns, some of them rather light.

Mixed messages a-go-go! Part of that, of course, being due to the limitations of the medium (it’s Picrew; you get the palette you get), the rest being my own indecisiveness.

In her voice is all the power of the ocean. In her eyes, all the blessings of the stars. (Manchester Leif, “Big Feels, Unlimited Magics”)

More than a year now into the BCLM-verse, I believe I’ve decided on where to land. First idea, best idea: Amygdala looks like me. Her face is her own, but our skin tones more or less match. Lordy, though, was that face of her own hard to reach on ArtBreeder! I may have accidentally spent something like two hours trying to manipulate images into a semblance of hers.

But fortune favors the persistent! I am hella happy with the results of my latest labors. Behold ye!

More than wisteria-like hair, more than a Danielle-like complexion, we’ve got that unmistakable, instantly recognizable sunny sparkle spirit. This picture isn’t just her face. It is Amygdala Wroth.