This is an important and timely question explored in the highly acclaimed spiritual novel, SNOOZE: A STORY OF AWAKENING, winner of the 2015 National Indie Excellence Award for New Age Fiction.
Written with young adult and young-at-heart readers in mind, SNOOZE further proved its literary merit by being selected as a 2016 Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Finalist in the Young Adult-Coming of Age category and receiving an Honorable Mention in the 2014 Beach Book Festival Prize competition in the General Fiction category.
You’re invited to join—either with eyes or ears—Max Diver, a.k.a. “Snooze,” along the razor’s edge of a quest to rescue his astronaut father from a fate stranger than death in the exotic, perilous Otherworld of sleep.
This inspiring tale interweaves a plethora of paranormal and metaphysical subjects, from Bigfoot and enlightenment to the Loch Ness Monster and time travel via the Bermuda Triangle.
In her review of SNOOZE published in INDIE SHAMAN Magazine, June Kent had this to say about what she described as “superlative fiction”: “Engrossing, entertaining and occasionally humorous, SNOOZE also takes a look at a wide range of subjects including levitation, telepathy, lucid dreaming, spirit animals, parallel universes and shamanic-like journeying, giving a wide range of information effortlessly absorbed as you enjoy the story as well as much food for thought.”
Naturally, your generous review would be greatly appreciated even if you simply enjoy the full text now being presented on this blog and numerous podcast platforms. Keep in mind that paperback and ebook versions are for sale. A complimentary online version is also available for your reading pleasure.
SNOOZE: A STORY OF AWAKENING
By Sol Luckman
Time has a way of flying, as the saying goes, during one’s first college semester. There’s just so much to wrap one’s mind around and integrate all at once: new schedules, new freedoms, new places, new people, new frontiers, new expectations.
Some freshmen (such as Raul), emphasizing social priorities and seeming to forget (if they ever knew) why they attended college in the first place, adopt Mark Twain’s infamous philosophy: “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.”
Other freshmen (such as Max) err in the opposite direction—gradually abandoning any pretense to a social life as they find themselves losing themselves to academia’s perfectionistic grind.
For many who aspire to higher education, especially those who desire to enter the ranks of the so-called professionals, there’s always something more to learn, some uncharted area of ignorance to be filled in, a piece of the cognitive map to be surveyed and drawn.
It was all Max could do to keep up with his reading and workload. His head swam with facts and figures. While eating was a necessity, sleep became optional, and socializing transformed into a strict no-no.
Still other freshmen (such as Tuesday) manage, by accident or design, to strike a balance between having a social life and getting an education. These individuals are rare birds, to borrow another phrase, and doubly blessed to have both friendship and knowledge.
To his chagrin, Max had barely spoken to Tuesday in over a month, when he bumped into her—quite literally—while crossing the Quad one Monday afternoon between classes.
It was approaching the mid-point of October in the capital of Rhode Island. The sky was high and blue; the air was crisp even in the sunlight; and the trees were starting to lose their leaves, which had mostly turned to rust and brown.
“Well, if it isn’t Maxwell Andrew Diver!” said Tuesday, breaking through the “information overload haze” that seemed to emanate like invisible fog from the young would-be doctor’s brain.
His faraway eyes snapped into focus on Tuesday’s lovely, smiling face like a memory of yesteryear with its white teeth and big gray eyes framed by coils of blonde hair.
Backpack slung over one shoulder, two-tone gold bracelet on her wrist, she was dressed more or less as she always was—which just happened to be perfect for college—in an oversized sweater, faded jeans with holes in the knees, and Birkenstocks with wool socks.
“Tuesday! I didn’t even see you. How have you been?”
“Thanks for asking. Why haven’t you returned my calls or answered my emails? I even stooped so low as to text you. Have you got a girlfriend or something?”
“No! I … I’ve just been really busy.”
“Well, I’ve got a boyfriend—and I’ve still tried to make time for you.”
“You have a boyfriend?”
“Carter. He’s a junior. History buff. He’s a lot of fun, but we don’t have a future.”
“How can you say that?”
“I can see it.”
“If you say so. When were you going to tell me?”
“When were you going to break your radio silence?”
“I’m really sorry, Tuesday. I feel like a shmuck. Tell you what—I’m not going out of town for fall break. If you’ve got a free day, we could spend it in Rockport together. Maybe catch up a little?”
“That could work. I’ve been wanting to visit Rockport. How about Thursday? I’m going to Carter’s house in Manhattan for the weekend. We’re taking the train down Friday.”
“Manhattan, huh? Thursday’s fine. Should I pick you up in the morning—say, around nine?”
“Sounds good. I look forward to it.”
The two old friends were on the verge of resuming their divergent paths to opposite ends of the Quad, when Tuesday said, “Max?”
“Good to see you.”
“Good to see you, too.”
That Thursday, the first day of fall break’s long weekend, with Raul having mercifully vacated the premises (taking Pablo with him) for three days of nonstop partying in Key West, Max awoke feeling oddly … rested.
He didn’t know exactly how or why he felt this way—though undoubtedly it had to do with Raul’s absence and the resultant quiet in the room that Max welcomed back like an estranged companion from the distant past.
Truth be known, it had been a long time since Max had slept long or well enough for his own good. Years of pushing himself academically, on the one hand, combined with fears of sleeping too much and allowing his dreams to return to haunt him, on the other, had taken a toll on his immune system.
Not to the mention that, being so preoccupied with his studies, he had developed rather poor eating habits: too many sweets, too many sodas, too much processed food. Believe it or not, such unhealthy behavior is actually common among doctors, who tend to know a lot about medicine but very little about health.
Max wasn’t by any means “sickly,” to look at him, but he had become prone to colds and the flu, sinus infections and fever blisters, and more often than not felt vaguely run-down.
But not that Thursday morning. He woke up just before nine, having apparently turned off his alarm in his sleep, if he even remembered to set it. Even as he stretched and yawned, thankful to have no classes, he realized he was supposed to pick up Tuesday—in less than fifteen minutes!
How he managed to throw on jeans and a sweater, rush out of Chatterton House to his Explorer, drive halfway across campus, find a parking space, and sprint to the lobby of Avalon House in twenty minutes flat will remain a mystery.
Somehow, out of breath and only a little late, he found himself rendezvousing with Tuesday and opening the passenger door for her. She climbed in and buckled her seatbelt as he got in the driver’s seat and did likewise. “You hungry?” he asked.
“Ravenous. Have you had breakfast yet?”
“No. Let’s swing by that little natural bakery on Faith Street and pick up some pastries and coffee for the road.”
“Lay on, Macduff! I dig that bakery. They use natural sweeteners and alternative grains.”
An hour later, having consumed organic lattés and mammoth, agave-sweetened sticky buns made with spelt flour while traveling south along Queequeg Bay, Max and Tuesday arrived in the peninsular town of Rockport, famous for its rocky beaches and sumptuous summer homes built by the super-wealthy “robber barons” of the 19th century.
The weather that morning was a continuation of the beautiful autumn skies that had seemed the norm the past few weeks. Max found a parking spot just off Somes Street. As he was feeding the meter, Tuesday offered him an Altoid from a tin in her pack. “Have one. They’re curiously strong,” she said, popping a mint in her mouth.
“Some things never change,” said Max, accepting an Altoid with a grin.
“And some things do.”
“Us. Look at us. Here we are all grown up in … Rhode Island.”
They both stood still on the sidewalk for a moment soaking in the historical atmosphere generated by the colorful New England architecture. “Kind of weird, huh?” said Max.
“I’ll say. I used to think your dreams were strange. But this … this is surreal.”
Max’s dreams, having taken place so long ago, had almost, though not quite, become the thing of legend in their minds. It had been years since Tuesday had so much as broached the subject.
But Max had no intention of opening that closet full of skeletons. “It’s going to get cold up here before long,” he said, switching the topic. “Especially for two South Florida kids. I hope you packed a winter coat.”
“Oh, I did. Two of them. Plus snow boots, ski gloves, and several hats.”
“Shall we walk?”
They strolled around Somes Street for an hour and visited a number of tourist shops. Having their fill of kitsch, they climbed back in the Explorer and circled the famed “Luxury Loop,” where the neoclassical “cottages” of the robber barons overlooked the rocky coastline.
“These houses are insane!” commented Max. “So much money went into their construction. Do people still live in them?”
“In a few,” said Tuesday. “Some are museums now. They’re really beautiful … in a disgusting sort of way.”
“You realize who the people were who built these so-called cottages, don’t you?”
“You mean the Bandervilts, Crockafellers, and Carnalgies—that sort?”
“Exactly. These are the immensely rich banking families who control the world by controlling the monetary system.”
“You mean the ‘Illuminati’?”
“That’s one name for them.”
“Come on, Tuesday. The Illuminati? That’s just an urban legend.”
“That’s what they want you to believe. You’re much more easily controlled if you don’t know you’re being controlled.”
“Have you been watching the Matrix again?”
“No. I’m just saying.”
They parked beside a little cove with a sandy beach and got out to explore. “I didn’t realize that in addition to being a health nut, you were also a conspiracy theorist,” said Max in a failed attempt at humor.
“It’s only a theory if you can’t prove it,” replied Tuesday, slipping off her Birks and socks, setting them on a rock, and walking to the edge of the waves. “For people willing to take their head out of the sand, this stuff has been proven many times over. Ever read The Creature from Jekyll Island?”
“No. What’s it about—Bigfoot?”
“Very funny. It’s about how these banking families conspired to create the Federal Reserve System in 1913 to confiscate the world’s wealth. Did you know, Max, that the Federal Reserve isn’t federal at all, but a private bank owned by these same families that controls our country’s economy outside of any governmental oversight?”
“No. I didn’t.”
“Did you know there’s a lot of evidence these people orchestrated every war dating back to World War I and even funded both sides of most major conflicts, including World War II, when they gave financial and military support to the Nazis?”
“I thought there were no classes today. I feel like I’m getting a history lesson.”
“Did you know that both President Eisenhower and President Kennedy warned the American public against this powerful cabal—and that Kennedy’s attempt to return money printing to the Treasury, as opposed to the Federal Reserve, may have got him killed?”
“How do you know all of this?”
“I’m taking a fascinating seminar with Professor Icarus on the Hero’s Journey.”
“The Hero’s Journey? What in the world does Joseph Campbell have to do with the Federal Reserve?”
“Why don’t you take off your shoes and we can walk on the beach and chat about it?”
Max set his tennis shoes with his socks inside them on the rocks and joined Tuesday on the sand. It had been close to two months since he had stood on a beach—which he realized was the longest he had ever gone without feeling sand between his toes.
“This water’s icy,” said Tuesday, rolling up her jeans as a wave frothed up around her shins, momentarily submerging her mermaid tattoo.
“You got that right,” agreed Max, dipping a toe in the frigid surf. “I don’t think we’re in Florida anymore, Toto.”
“I’m actually glad to be somewhere else. I mean, I miss my mom. But these days, Florida’s just one big strip mall.”
Seagulls circling overhead, the two friends began walking toward the opposite end of the cove. “So where were we?” said Tuesday.
“The Hero’s Journey.”
“Right. The basic idea is that ‘Heroes’ Journeys’ from literature map universal archetypes, or underlying patterns, that can be extrapolated to the various stages of personal development—starting with the ‘Call to Adventure,’ moving through a series of ‘Trials,’ and culminating in the ‘Freedom to Live.’”
“So you’re saying we’re all on our own version of the Hero’s Journey?”
“More or less.”
“Okay. I’m with you.”
“Professor Icarus has this idea that the Hero’s Journey can also be used to understand larger developmental patterns—like those that society goes through on its ‘journey’ from slavery to freedom.”
“The ‘micro’ also applies to the ‘macro.’”
“Bingo. Or as the alchemists liked to say, ‘As above, so below.’”
“So what about the Federal Reserve and the Illuminati?”
“Well, these forces represent one of the Trials society must pass through to complete our shared Hero’s Journey. We have to come together to defeat this ‘Beast’ that controls every aspect of our world—from money to politics to medicine—so that we can have the Freedom to Live.”
“Sounds to me like Professor Icarus has been smoking something.”
“Well, that may be. But it doesn’t make him wrong.”
Tuesday suddenly stopped as another wave washed over their feet and fished something up out of the water. It was a sand dollar—an actual, living one—with blue-gray hairs like bristles that moved.
“Won’t you look at that,” said Max. “I’ve never seen a real, live sand dollar before.”
“Do you remember the time we found all those tests? There were so many they barely fit in the cooler.”
“How could I forget? It was your birthday.”
“And the day before Dad disappeared.”
“I still think about him. He was a good man.”
“There’s something else I’ve been wanting to talk with you about,” said Tuesday, releasing the sand dollar back to the waves.
“Something you’re probably not going to like. But I have to ask.”
“What’s it about?”
“It’s about my bracelet.”
“Your bracelet? You mean the one I gave you?”
“Yes. This bracelet right here,” she said, turning her slender wrist slowly as the dark and light strands of gold, interweaving, caught the sunlight from different angles.
“What about it?”
“Do you remember where you found it?”
“Yes. I told you where. It was some kind of archeological site in Ireland. Probably.”
“I can’t be sure. Heck, I’m not even sure that really happened. Why are you bringing this up?”
“Because I think it’s a magical bracelet.”
“A magical bracelet?”
“Mom thinks so, too.”
“Oh, come on, Tuesday. First the Illuminati, and now this. I thought Lucky Charms was just a cereal.”
“Ha, ha. You’re on a roll today, Max.”
“You’re serious about this, aren’t you?”
“Have you been smoking with Professor Icarus, Tuesday?”
“Hardly. Are you hungry?”
“Me, too. Those pastries ran out an hour ago. Let’s go get some lunch and I’ll tell you everything I know.”
Copyright © Sol Luckman. All Rights Reserved.
Introducing Sol Luckman’s new visionary novel, CALI THE DESTROYER. Learn about the single most censored story in the history of the human race—and why it matters today.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sol Luckman is a pioneering ink and acrylic painter whose work has been featured on mainstream book covers, the fast-paced trading game BAZAAR, and at least one tattoo on a female leg last sighted in Australia.
Sol is also an acclaimed author of fiction, nonfiction, and humor. His books include the international bestselling CONSCIOUS HEALING, which you can read free online, and its popular sequel, POTENTIATE YOUR DNA, available in English and Spanish.
Sol’s popular book of humor and satire, THE ANGEL’S DICTIONARY: A SPIRITED GLOSSARY FOR THE LITTLE DEVIL IN YOU, received the 2017 National Indie Excellence Award for Humor and was selected as a Finalist in the Humor category of both the 2018 International Book Awards and the 2018 Best Book Awards.