CHROMA Excerpt

chroma-coverMuch of what I write is history. My blog posts are usually about current events or my publications about local history. This is different.

My new novel, Chroma, is history of an entirely different sort. Theoretical history firmly rooted in factual evidence of human evolution. It’s available in ebook format at half price now until November 15 release date.

They were aware of nothing. Not movement, even though they existed within a stream of photons traveling at the speed of light. Not thought, even though they contained among them all the knowledge that could be known.

They were One, Chroma.

A world of physical existence unfolded before them as they encountered a blue planet and its cycles of life, forms already ancient in their traditions of birth, life, and death. The Aspects of Chroma begin to question. How would it be to know embodiment? Could they learn the pleasure of food, of rest and procreation?

Among them, B4 Indigo—more precisely 493.883 Hertz in her spectral array between 420 and 450 nanometers of visible light—flourished into her own identity. Immediately resonating with her harmonic companion F369.994 Yellow and his fellow octaves of F sharp, B4 pursued a fateful agenda. What could be known? What could be changed?

Chroma: Light Being Human submerges readers in the intimate process of becoming human.


Several entities manipulate dials and adjust various screens and mechanisms. The green glow of instrumentation reflects on their thin metallic arms and black sensory lens. Outside, visible through a wide expanse of glass that spreads above the console, the curve of the ship’s upper hull shines faintly silver as we pass a nearby sun, a reflection that repeats in luminous arcs along the huge outer ring as it revolves around the ship. Our vessel emits its own light, a faint glow of pink and yellow, pastel blue and green. The pale kaleidoscope of color changes as the ring rotates. A faint jingling sound emanates from the ring.

The crystal from which we flow stands in the midst of the upper deck, mounted at the heart of an elegant curving focular. The metal device reaches up to a clear dome in the ceiling, the portal through which our photons flow. At the heart of the focular, the tall crystal pulses with light. Each facet sparks with color, throwing my existence—the existence of us all—into the cabin.

You can’t imagine seeing all this at once. Without any understanding. I can’t imagine it either, not any more. It’s been too long. What’s left for me now, for any of us in Light, is the faint dying away of sound from a bell long after it’s been struck.

What lingers more clearly is the question ‘why’? I’ve come up with countless answers, but my cigarette has gone out. Its ashes and butt have already been incorporated into the cabin’s refuse bin. What can I say? I always want to smoke. It calms me.


We were so innocent then. None of us knew how long we’d been traveling or even that we were. I speak for us all because back then, we were One.

We’d been speeding through the soup of space-time. It could be said that we didn’t move at all, that we were in all places at once, and that would have been closer to the actual physics of the situation. We understood so little.

As if we understand now. Get that straight. I can look back now and say, oh, yeah, this and that. But we blew into this excruciating process without knowing anything. You’d think after all this time we’d have the answers. Everyone thinks we know everything. I’m telling this story because you need to understand—we don’t know.

At the time, we didn’t have human reference. Consider yourself lucky that I can use these terms. Otherwise, I’d have to present a symphony with flashing lights and you wouldn’t get it.

Please allow me to introduce us, the Aspects of Chroma. I’m of the electromagnetic range known as Indigo, and my frequency is of the musical tone B at the fourth octave of human perception, 493.883 Hertz. Call me B4. From me up the diatonic scale and across the visible spectrum are C Violet, D Red, E Orange, F Yellow, G Green, and A Blue, each like me with countless shades and sub-tones just as there are infinite fractions between the number one and the number two. These are my kinsmen and companions. Part of me, at least in the beginning.

Beginning? Again, that’s an amorphous concept. What we’ve learned so far is that our piercing column of white light, this stream of photons, originates somewhere past Sirius. The big star’s gravity bends our trajectory and slings us on a new path like a stone from a slingshot.

In the moment of our awakening, we existed as a refraction off the face of a doubly terminated clear quartz crystal, SiO4 tetrahedra. We broke into brilliant shapes of every color: red lines and blue spheres, violet spirals and yellow-orange loops, green and turquoise, russet and tan, swirling and sparkling, our voice a mighty chorus throbbing with the vibration of our existence.

This is the armchair quarterback version. Like I said, we didn’t know any of this. We just were. Ambulatory entities moved around us in a physical existence unlike ours. They could travel from place to place as discrete beings. Do things. Move things. I envied them.

Looking back, I’m amazed at how easy it was to take the next step. I can’t tell you when. We’re talking infinities of time, at least in human terms. And that’s how I’m trying to keep this, in human terms.

At a random moment, I the fourth octave of Indigo separated my wave of sound and light from the others. I clung to one of these ambulatory forms as it passed near the crystal. I had been part of the full sound of Chroma, a band of its electromagnetic spectra. Suddenly I wasn’t.

I admit it was a thrilling moment. That first taste of discrete existence riveted my attention. This physiognomy went places, did things. I went with it. Interacted. I became able to think and speak of things not previously known, concepts not known to us in One.

That was how it started.


I rode the Phiz, these gray physiognomies with their gleaming black eyes and dexterous fingers, around our contained metal vessel. On its shoulders, I dove deep into the belly of the ship where sleek engines chewed through harvested dark matter and thrust us ever onward. I swept along corridors to technical rooms where Phiz performed maintenance on each other and the ship’s devices. With the Phiz, I found that my suggestions resulted in certain responses so that when I wanted to see beyond a particular door, whichever Phiz I rode opened it. When I wanted to alter the direction of the ship so that it turned more toward the nearby nebulae or a particular galaxy, the Phiz manipulated the controls accordingly.

What pleasure I found in these interactions! The heady exercise of power, autonomy, control, adventure! The gratification of cause and effect, initiation and conclusion, hunger and satiety—I couldn’t get enough. How could one ever forget such things, once tasted?

My fellow Aspects twirled and tumbled in a constantly changing wash of rainbow hues and choirs of sound. Calculations of mathematics, rhymes of words and phrases, patterns of triangles, squares, octagons, words merging into other words that grew from combinations of letters, new meanings and ideas forming from old meanings and old ideas, scenes of color shifting constantly into different color—all of it poured out in a continuing stream, all of it made audible by the rush of sound, each tone carrying its own frequency and pitch, each color merging upward or downward into the next hue, each pitch sliding upward or downward through infinite frequencies.

Indigo posed our fateful question to the thought stream pulsing within our One: Could we have form as do the Phiz?

Immediately the texture of light in the room changed. Shades of color diminished until only the primary hue of each band remained. The wild disarray of sound subsided as sub-tones, flats and sharps and semi-notes aligned with their dominant pitches. One next to each other, each of the Aspects formed their primary hue of colored light in a single prismatic emission from the crystal face.

“What would you have us do, B Indigo?” asked D293.665 Red, surging in a beam of crimson. “Will it be pleasurable?”

“What will form accomplish?” A440 Blue said, his cobalt column intense. “I admit to some interest in your idea, but I have no data that support this proposal.”

“No data,” said the sphere of E329.628 Orange.

F369.994 Yellow rippled over the room, casting everything in golden brilliance. “A challenging proposal, my dear B4,” he said. “I’ve seen you coming this. I’ve felt your excitement. Why would you change us?”

Even separated from them as I had become in my questioning, I could not overcome the pull of our vibrational unity. But among them all, none had greater fundamental frequency with me than the energy of F369.994 and his fellow octaves of F sharp. For a moment, I couldn’t control my visceral response, an emission of sound that rang out beside his pitch in perfect intervals of fourths and fifths.

Such joy! Tremors of luxurious warmth swept along my wavelength. I wanted him always with me.

“Don’t spoil this, Yellow.” I wrested away, shivering in the rush of our harmonic joining. “Think of what I ask.”

His tone settled on one note. “Do you know what you ask?”

“Surely we have other purpose than endless play,” I said, resisting the urge to acknowledge his doubt. “What do we know of our beginning? Where are we going? What is our purpose? Is this all there is?”

None of them replied. Only the faintest choir of sound emanated from us.

“What of this adjacent plane, these physical constructs that force us from One into many, that contain us and attend us?” I said, swirling toward the crystal and the Phiz then laying my purple ribbon of light along the glass that separated our enclosed space from the streaming vista ahead. I couldn’t express, then or now, the swelling up I felt, the urgency pushing me. “What are the natures of the bodies we pass, these suns and novas, the congregates?”

The room remained abnormally silent with faint spikes of color flickering on the lustrous high ceiling.  I couldn’t blame them for their reaction. Part of me remained in sync with them, stunned at my rebellion.

“These are challenging observations, B4,” Blue intoned.

Green flourished in chartreuse, emerald, lime, as octaves of G echoed. “We could instruct the Phiz to such a task. I sense creative possibilities.”

“Yes, exactly,” I said, my Indigo family growing more intense. “How can we wait one more moment to explore?”

“Dearest B4, we have everything here,” Violet C murmured. “Existence in its purest form. We are One. Why would we want to disturb this with unknowns?”

“But we are no longer One…” I said.

“Theoretical questions, Violet,” F Yellow said. “Questioning within unity is not the same as chasing ideas on your own. What B4 proposes takes us outside anything we’ve known.”

“The risks of unknowns, statistically speaking…the odds are quite staggering that we would have any success in finding an equivalent amount of pleasure, if I respond to Red’s posed question,” Orange said. She calculated, sending up waves of mathematical images to the upper deck walls. “Drawing from Phiz data stores—they have no specific description of pleasure or any other subjective experience, but they do record a significant number of potentially damaging interactions between our containment here and various elements of the external environment. If we extrapolated that we, like the vessel around us, would also encounter a variety of similar interactions, we could assume that pleasure would not be the only feature of such a ‘physical’ experience.”

“A blind leap, it seems to me,” Blue said. “Why would we risk it? I believe Indigo’s ideas stem from disengagement from our union. We should be reminded—it’s been a long time since we acknowledged the primal energy of our source. A joining can’t be far off. Until the time when our One is reenergized, we should focus on discussion, perhaps expanding our theoretical analyses. We can generate ideas and experiences among us that are new and challenging—Orange alone has infinite sequences of formulae—without shifting the fundamental nature of our experience. We are, after all, physical in the sense that we exist in light and sound beyond the energy stream radiated at the grating. The possibilities…”

“And what of my offerings—spontaneous, organic…” Green said.

“Take my D,” Red said. “Tones seducing to the sharp, to the flat …”

The column of light swirled brighter. Choirs of sound pulsed the air and rose to the walls, to the high ceiling, until the shades of color painted the room in song. I saw their hesitation. I slipped away, allowing my bandwidth to drift into shadows. I don’t know what I expected. The old songs resonated through the conversation.

Whether my fellows agreed or not, whether Indigo might later suffer regret, I could not stop myself. I see now that my destiny would find outlet no matter what. Ironically, I understand it now in terms of the physical world. My fate advanced like a sudden rivulet of rainwater caught behind a clump of leaves and silt which pile up in a widening dam until, finding fresh course to its inevitable downhill destiny, the flood rushes around and through the obstacle.


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Ten Lives


I could spend ten lifetimes reading the stories of humankind and still not know enough. Sumeria, Greece, Egypt, Rome. China: the Records of the Grand Historian, Bamboo Annals, the Five Classics. Popol Vuh. Genghis Khan. Charlemagne. Tesla. Secret writings of ancient and medieval women.

I could spend ten lifetimes carrying out the ambitions of various parts of myself and still not do it all or well enough. Art—the swirl of vibrant color on thick white paper. Music—Bach fugue played a nine-foot grand. Literature—a turn of phrase that takes away breath, stories that ache to be told.

Plant, cultivate, and harvest, dry, freeze, slice—onion and butter sizzle in a hot iron skillet, ready for potato. Goats— chewing alfalfa hay at the barn door, watching me with yellow slit eyes. Weave and sew fine cloth, yards of it filling my arms. Gather fallen twigs to kindle a fire, add more wood and watch the flames spread, leap, fall to pulsing coals and pale ash.

I could love ten thousand men and a thousand women and still not have loved enough. Never have touched enough soft skin. Never have kissed enough lips or marveled enough at the mingling of color in the iris of an eye. Lens to the soul I worship with my body.

With endless days would come endless shapes of clouds racing across the sky, dark and turbulent rolling in with thunder, thin wisps high in frozen air. Rain lash the walls, wind bend the trees. Deep in the forest an open glade glows chartreuse. Sun sears dry ground, bakes the insects scuttling for shade. Hoar frost coats the grass and fence wire, forms iridescent lace of spider webs. Snow drifts down at dawn, five degrees and the air is blue.

In these things and countless more, the joy of physical being fills my heart, tells me why I exist. More than the grief, the suffering, the despair, it is the supreme excellence of incarnation that drives me to my stubborn end.