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
The next morning, having dressed and breakfasted on two boiled eggs, some celery stalks and a hunk of gouda, Max thought to place Pablo on top of Raul’s snoring outline, then instinctively slung his empty backpack over one shoulder and headed out the door as if on his way to class.
In a more profound sense than he realized, he was about to attend class—though not one of his own and not one for which Maroon University (or any university, for that matter) would award credit.
After Halloween’s visible excesses, everybody on campus looked more or less normal, if a bit lethargic. “Why don’t people dress up like angels on All Saints Day?” Max wondered as he located Mellon Hall, home to the Anthropology Department, and climbed the spiral staircase to the second floor.
Room 203, Professor Icarus’s office, was impossible to mistake with its door completely covered in multicolored Tibetan prayer flags. Neither the room number nor the professor’s name could be glimpsed, yet there was no doubt Max was in the right place as he knocked loudly.
“Enter at your own risk!” came the professor’s tenor, woodwindy voice from somewhere inside.
Turning the doorknob, Max was instantly greeted by a distorted image of himself, wearing jeans and his Maroon University sweatshirt, about half his height and twice his width, reflected in a funhouse mirror attached to a bamboo partition. “Professor Icarus?”
“Andrew. Back here, Max.”
There was a smell of resinous incense mixed with that of strong coffee in the air as Max made his way around the partition, past ceiling-high bookshelves stacked with books, and into an enormous open room with tall ceilings and huge windows.
He had expected—to the extent he expected anything—the typical professor’s office: small, cramped, messy, utilitarian. The contrast with this mental image, to say nothing of Dr. Morrow’s austere headquarters, could hardly have been greater.
An anthropological museum and SoHo artist’s loft rolled into one, Professor Icarus’s “office” featured an eclectic collection: Zuni pottery, Hopi kachinas, Bolivian flutes, Guatemalan worry dolls, Peruvian beadwork, Brazilian berimbaus, samurai swords, aboriginal didgeridoos, African statuary, and Mesoamerican headdresses.
Some of these exotic objects were in glass-topped cases; some sat haphazardly on shelves; still others were scattered about on the hardwood floor.
In a patched leather armchair draped with a Navajo blanket beside a matching couch next to a colossal redwood desk, Professor Icarus—dressed normally today in a gray tweed coat and purple bowtie—sat sipping his morning coffee as smoke from a stick of incense burning on a wicker coffee table spiraled lazily in the bright light from the windows. “So, Max, you managed to locate me,” he said, smiling.
“It wasn’t hard. I just followed the prayer flags.” Max couldn’t help looking around. “Some office you have here.”
“Do you like it? Or is it perhaps too bohemian for your taste?”
“I like it. It feels sort of like … a parallel universe.”
“It does, doesn’t it? Of course, the Department would love to sanitize it and get rid of me in the process. But happily, they can’t fire me because I’m tenured. And my books sell—which is more than most of my colleagues can claim. May I offer you a cup of Turkish coffee? Experience has shown that frankincense combined with a powerful shot of caffeine always helps clear the cobwebs first thing in the morning.”
“I’ve never tried Turkish coffee.”
“Would you like to?”
“That would be nice.”
“Coming right up. Please, put down your backpack and make yourself at home.”
Smiling again, Professor Icarus stood up (as before, Max was surprised at how tall he was) and wound his way through his sprawling anthropological collection over to a small kitchenette featuring a sink, stovetop, microwave, and refrigerator.
As Max set down has pack and got comfortable on the couch, the professor proceeded to finely grind some beans in an electric grinder and prepare a long-stemmed pot (known as a cezve) of Turkish coffee by heating it over a gas burner. “Sugar, Max?”
“Good. Sugar’s nasty.”
“So Tuesday loves to remind me.”
“How about Sucanat?”
“Dried cane juice. It’s better for you than sugar.”
Professor Icarus placed the steaming cezve, along with an espresso cup and saucer, on the wicker table and plopped back down in his armchair. “Speaking of, that Tuesday’s one smart cookie. How long have you two known each other?”
“Seven years. Almost exactly.”
“My sources tell me you’re a smart boy.”
“You know, the little campus birds with whom I sometimes communicate. It’s all very hush-hush.”
Max poured the coffee from the cezve into the espresso cup and blew across the liquid’s steaming surface.
“Careful,” said Professor Icarus. “It’s hot as blazes. I already sweetened it.”
It was very hot—and just as robust—with a spicy, exotic undertone Max couldn’t quite place.
“Cardamom,” offered the professor.
“Cardamom. That’s it. This is really tasty.”
“Glad you like it. I learned to make it in Istanbul.”
“I take it you’ve traveled a little in your time?”
“A little. You?”
“Not much. Belize. The Cayman Islands. Quebec when I was too young to remember it.”
“Not to worry, Max. I didn’t start traveling until my junior year abroad in France. And honestly, the world isn’t that big a place.”
“What else did your sources say about me?”
“You really want to know?”
“If I didn’t before, I certainly do now.”
“Well, they say you’re in serious danger of flunking out after your first semester. Somehow I find that difficult to conceptualize.”
“Maybe you shouldn’t.”
“So it’s true?”
“Oh, it’s true.”
“I’m confused, Max. You just got here with a stellar high school record. Are you finding the university’s academic standards too rigorous?”
“It’s not that.”
“Do you find higher learning itself somehow … distasteful?”
“Or useless. Or meaningless. You wouldn’t be the first person to conclude that the last place to get an education is college.”
“No. I’m afraid I beat you to it. The wide world is a far better teacher than the ivory tower.” Professor Icarus smiled once again—a broad, genuine smile beneath his wide-set eyes, which seemed to twinkle like tiny galaxies under the celestial dome of his eggplant-shaped head sporting thin wisps of hair that used to be blond.
“Look, Max, I don’t mean to pry. In fact, we wouldn’t be having this conversation at all if I didn’t feel some sense of obligation to offer my support with whatever’s going on with you.”
“Because of my mother?”
“Because of your mother.”
“Did you love her?”
“I loved her, all right. I loved her long after she broke my heart by marrying your father.”
“Don’t be. You had nothing to do with it. So tell me, Max, what’s troubling you enough to keep you from attending class?”
Max stared at Professor Icarus trying to decide whether he could trust him. He thought he could—but also thought it best to feel him out first. “Well, one thing that’s been … troubling me,” he said finally, “is that lately I’ve begun to question some of science’s central dogmas.”
“Like materialism. Like medicine being purely a biological affair, consciousness existing only in the brain, the speed of light being unattainable, dreams not being real. That sort of thing.”
“Have you now? And what, if I may ask, has led you to ask such unorthodox—dare I say heretical?—questions?”
“Maybe I’m just my mother’s son.”
“You are that, it’s plain enough. But am I wrong in intuiting there are other factors at work here?”
Max took another sip of coffee and stared at the swirling incense smoke—only to realize the smoldering stick was affixed in and held aloft by, of all things, a sand dollar test!
“Please. Call me Andrew.”
“Sorry … Andrew. It just feels sort of strange to call you that. By any chance … would you happen to have a picture of my mother?”
“Funny you should ask. I have a picture of her on my desk. Would you like to see it?”
“Please, if it’s not too much trouble.”
“Not at all.” The professor reached over with his long arm and wiry fingers, retrieved a small picture frame from his desk, and handed it to Max.
Under the protective glass, his mother, in her mid-twenties and dressed in a bright orange one-piece, was reclining on a beach towel with a mischievous grin beside a younger, lankier version of Professor Icarus in lime green swim trunks. “Where was this taken?” asked Max.
“Misquamicut Beach. Not too far from Mystic, where your mother grew up.”
“And where’s she’s buried.”
“Yes, tragically. Your mother was so much more than just a pretty face, Max. She was both a personal and professional inspiration.”
“Did you ever ask her to marry you?” queried Max, handing back the photograph.
“And she refused?”
“Many times. If I may speculate, I think she loved me—but she wasn’t in love with me. I believe she thought of me as the older brother she never had.” The professor wistfully examined the photo for a moment, then replaced it on his desk.
“Did you ever get married … later?” asked Max.
“Many times.” Professor Icarus grinned sheepishly. “It never worked out. I suppose I’m just a strange bird, Max. A rara avis.”
“You’re preaching to the choir.”
“I thought I might be.”
“Tell me, what do you know about the psychic abilities of children born with the caul?”
“Do I sense our conversation going deeper, Max?”
“I know the psychic abilities of such children are quite well documented, though they vary considerably from case to case. Why do you ask?”
“Were you aware I was born with the caul?”
“Were you, now? That’s news to me. I take it your questioning of scientific dogma may be rather more experiential than theoretical?”
“How observant of you.”
“A traveler needs to be observant. It’s always the subtle things, the little details that contain the most significance. I assume you’re interested in my perspective for … personal reasons?”
“Let’s just say I have more than a passing interest in this subject matter.”
“Do you have ESP?”
“No, that’s Tuesday’s department. I, uh, have dreams.”
“We all have dreams, Max.”
“True. But my dreams are …”
“Are you talking about lucid dreaming?”
“I’m talking about a lot more than just lucid dreaming. I need to know what you know about dreams and the dream world.”
“Somebody I love may need me to know.”
Professor Icarus sighed. “Listen, Max. I want to help you. I really and truly do. And I will, if I can. But my hands are tied if all we’re going to do is talk in circles.”
“Fair enough. Then will you permit me to talk in a straight line?”
“Permit you? I implore you.”
“All right. But first, you must promise that what I’m going to share will remain strictly off the record. This is the kind of thing that could get me in a lot more hot water than missing a few classes. Get my drift?”
“I get your drift.”
“Where do I begin?”
“Why don’t you begin at the beginning, Max?”
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.