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
“That wasn’t too painful,” was Max’s relieved thought on closing the door to the little bathroom and relieving himself—at which point he activated the mirror over the sink and stared with astonishment at his reflection.
The tattoo over his heart—a perfect replica of Jonah’s fresco of Leaping Dolphin holding the moon between his teeth—was the least remarkable thing about the image that greeted him.
Possibly, the toh-pey in his system made the moment more surreal than it actually was. Be that as it may, having just been plastered from head to toe with paint made from jork and jube powder, he found himself gazing into the eyes of the blue Max from his dreams!
“Whoa,” he watched himself say as if in slow motion.
The only thing different was his tattoo, which thanks to the kimbu oil, was already healing around the edges. Otherwise, Max was the blue Max: down to his bindi and the loincloth he had been given to wear.
“Is everything okay, Maxwell?”
His twin’s disembodied voice, nearly indistinguishable from his own, reverberating through the door, startled him. “Yeah. Everything’s fine.”
“When you are ready, we will leave for the zoaz forest.”
“I’ll be right there.” Then, in a whisper to himself: “You can do this, Max.”
Artemisia and Maxwallah were waiting for him by the double doors. “You look magnificent!” she exclaimed.
“Thanks. I wish I felt magnificent.”
“How do you feel?” asked Maxwallah.
“A little nauseated.”
“No longer thirsty?” wondered Artemisia.
“Good,” she said. “If you need to purge, do not be concerned—but do not force it.”
“How long am I going to feel like puking?”
“As long as it takes. But probably not long. Walking will help.”
Outside, despite his thick layer of paint, the crepuscular air was nippy enough to raise goose bumps on Max’s exposed skin. But he had very little time to focus on his discomfort. He was immediately distracted by the most outlandish sight he had yet seen in the cosmic sector—and that was saying something.
Standing perfectly still like a shaggy tree trunk in the twilight, a beatific look on her face, Zana was clutching a purring Fey-leh to her bosom.
“Zana and Fey-leh have always been practically inseparable,” commented Maxwallah with a hint of jealousy on remarking Max’s agape expression.
Seeing Max, Fey-leh made it known she wanted to be set down. Zana obliged. The hefty bobcat sprang forward and gently butted her tufted ears against Max’s bare shins.
“Nice to see you, too, Fey-leh,” he said, scratching her furry head. Then, approaching Zana, who actually smiled at him: “And really nice to see you. I’m glad you could be here.”
“Zana would not miss it,” he heard her say in his mind.
“Enough pleasantries,” said Artemisia. “Let us walk.”
They followed the path up into the hills toward the zoaz forest. Fey-leh trotted along for a good ways beside Max—until she seemed to tire and Zana scooped her up without missing a beat.
It was some time before Max realized he wasn’t even wearing shoes. Strangely, he was no longer the least bit chilly, not even with night setting in. As for the soles of his feet, the cobbled path was smoother than it looked.
As they crested the third of five hills, a full moon rose above the shadowy tops of the zoaz trees. By Max’s calculation, barely a week had passed since the full moon that illuminated his perilous river crossing with Zana—a realization that invited amazement (yet again) at how much had happened in so short a while.
If anything, this full moon seemed bigger and brighter than the one in the jungle—more like a miniature sun bathing the world with silver light. It occurred to Max, not egoically but matter-of-factly, that this particular moon was shining for him.
With this thought, he remarked a heightened awareness of the countryside: the cicadas keening away in the tall bushes flanking the path, the rustle of nocturnal creatures in the underbrush, the brief exhalations of wind in the grasses.
Walking virtually naked through the autumn night had all the qualities of a lucid dream, he mused as they crested the final hill and entered the forest proper, where spears of moonlight stabbed down through the swaying foliage in blinding shafts.
Here the path continued and—except for the occasional root or twig—was as soft as a shag carpet covered with layers of yellowing leaves, the size and shape of which reminded Max of elephant ears.
Somewhere off in the woods murmured a creek. Max could hear it plainly, though he never managed to see it. But every now and then, the innumerable limbs overhead suddenly opened up and the moon glowed like a curious eyeball in the seam.
Before long they came to a clearing with a casita in the middle similar to Artemisia’s office. Without any trees obstructing the moonlight, everything was so bright it might have been merely a cloudy day. “That was my father’s studio,” whispered Maxwallah, nodding in the direction of the casita. “He claimed he painted better near the trees.”
Max recalled Jonah’s portrait of Artemisia with a zoaz in the background, then finding her misty-eyed on the bench gazing at the forest. Clearly, this place had meant a lot to the Ily-bintu family.
The strobing twilight returned as the group reentered the woods on the far side of the clearing. Either there was something magical about this zoaz cathedral, or Max was really starting to feel the toh-pey, because he half expected to encounter fairies in the moonshine.
The image of fairies reminded him of the Bradelring, then Tuesday by association, and eventually Mardah. From there it was only a hop, skip and a jump to an appreciation of the circularity of existence—how his past and present, like a snake biting its tail in the eternal Now, formed an electrical circuit to empower his evolution.
The self-devouring serpent brought to mind Professor Icarus’s Halloween lecture, delivered seemingly years ago. “The Hero’s Journey is ultimately not about strength of arms or courage under fire,” he had emphasized. “It is, far more simply, about creating a circle, not only in space and time, but in consciousness as well.
“This is the Great Circle,” he had continued, “the continuity of existence, the Ouroboros that swallows its own tail as it enacts the underlying unity of creation. Upon completing his or her journey, having faced his or her demons, the true hero sees separation for the illusion it is, and embraces the reality of a unified self inhabiting a unified cosmos.”
As they walked and walked between the great trees in the iridescent moonlight, Max thought and thought about the implications of Professor Icarus’s words. He was describing—it seemed patently obvious now—enlightenment.
Light wasn’t merely conscious, as some theories maintained, Max realized. Light was consciousness. To become “enlightened” was as simple—and as challenging—as filling up with light.
Despite the night’s chill, he was sweating from so much walking. A bead of perspiration rolled down his forehead and splashed on his tongue. The salty taste made him think of Great Spirit’s Tears. Perhaps there had been a mistranslation and Great Spirit had actually sweated on the world.
Max’s laughter echoed through the forest, whose towering trees, like colossal antennae, seemed to amplify the sound. Convulsing with mirth, bending over and clutching his knees, he was happy to note that his nausea had passed.
He was generally happy, in fact, happier than he had ever been—and for no good reason. He should have been miserable in nothing but a loincloth in a strange forest in the dead of night. But instead, he felt like dancing.
So he did. The faces of his companions spun and spun around him, blurring together with the trunks of the trees, as he whirled like a Sufi, giggling hysterically and sweating profusely.
The feeling was less like chemical intoxication than being drunk on life. Spinning round and round, he experienced absolute bliss—unadulterated and unconfined—in which he transcended his own personality and became one with everything he perceived.
The air was his mind. The trees were the hairs on his head. His companions were the fingers of his hand. The ground was his feet.
He could never leave Max behind—because Max was everywhere. Who he had been would remain part of the ever-expanding universe of the new Max, at his galactic core, the primordial stardust from which he was shaped.
Somehow, dancing like a spinning top, he had wobbled his way back into the moonlit clearing. It had been a long, circuitous journey, apparently without end—until it simply ended.
Fortunately, his companions were still with him. “So when do we get on with my initiation?” he asked, standing still at last while sucking for breath with his hands on his hips.
“You have already gotten on with it,” replied a grinning Artemisia. “Look at your skin.”
The sweat was already evaporating off Max’s damp skin, where it had formed little drip lines in his paint. But what really stood out was that his skin was glowing—actually glowing—much like that of the blue Max in his dreams. “What’s happening to me?” he asked.
“You are unifying your consciousness,” replied Maxwallah. “The paint is a vibrational sensor that begins to shine when you reach a state of oneness. Do you remember what I told you?”
“Everything is one?”
“Now we are truly brothers. But this next part you must do alone.”
“What next part?”
“Think of yourself as a young bird being pushed out of the nest by its mother,” said Artemisia.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“The young bird almost certainly feels it is not yet ready to fly, but its mother knows better. Otherwise, she would never push it from the nest.”
Recalling his first dreams of flight when he was a small child, Max acknowledged that his entire existence had been building up to this tipping point where he could finally choose to release his self-imposed limitations.
In the spirit of the Alpha and the Omega, in the way the Alpha was the Omega, and vice versa, he knew the beginning was also the end—and that the end was just another beginning.
“Remember,” said Artemisia, “all you are doing is going with the flow of levity. If you think about it, it is really quite natural to fly.”
“You can do this, Maxwell,” said Maxwallah.
Maybe they were right. Maybe he could do it. Initiating the protocol for working with the energy, Max intuitively grasped that he wasn’t just working with the energy; he was the energy. That seemed to make a big difference.
“Here goes nothing,” he said, echoing his own words from just before he shot through the Angel’s Eye.
With the energy forming a membrane around him, he levitated briefly a foot or so off the ground. The sensation was somewhat unwieldy, like riding a unicycle. But like learning to ride, flying seemed to get easier with practice.
Soon he felt confident enough to increase his elevation to roughly ten feet, judging by Zana’s height. She, along with the others, was staring up at him with eyes bright with expectation.
Going higher still, he felt for a moment as if he were swimming against a current. Flying suddenly seemed difficult. Doubt entered his mind. Realizing he was resisting, he did what Maxwallah had taught him to do: he surrendered.
Instantly, he shot up between the trees, his silver cord following like a contrail. Before he could question the wisdom of such a move, he was sailing through the moonlight with the cool wind in his face above the treetops. He had almost forgotten the beauty of the world at night as seen from above.
The experience of flying while awake was everything he had hoped it would be. In fact, it was no different from flying while asleep. He might have still been a little boy in space-time, dreaming he was a young man flying in time-space.
Reaching the edge of the forest, he beheld the terraced hills undulating down to the coast, the little town of Aru-vato dotted with lights, the rotating beam of the lighthouse in the harbor, and the moonlit expanse of the Inland Sea beyond. “This would have been a nice place to call home,” he thought, suddenly missing his own home.
The lapse in positive emotions made him sputter like a plane running out of gas. With a shout, he steeled himself for a crash landing.
Luckily, he had been angling lower and lower as he approached Artemisia’s office. He ended up simply rolling through the sage—at which point he stood up gingerly with only a bruise or two and twigs in his hair. “That wasn’t so bad,” he said, dusting himself off.
Utterly exhausted, he retrieved his belongings from the cabinet in the office, carried them to his bedroom in the main house, and collapsed on his bed—where he instantly fell into a comatose sleep in which he had a conversation with what appeared to be Great Spirit himself.
“How do you feel now that your initiation is over?” asked Great Spirit, whose face, never still, was like a kaleidoscope of all the faces Max had ever seen.
“Like one phase of my life just ended—and another phase began.”
“That is how you should feel!” exclaimed Great Spirit. His voice, much like his face, seemed a blend of countless familiar voices. “I suppose by now you have figured it out.”
“Figured what out?”
“That the toh-pey you ingested was not—”
“Meaning everything that happened to me was just … me?”
“Quite right. Everything was—and is—just you.”
Max let Great Spirit’s words sink in for a moment, then said, “What a cruel trick to play on someone.”
“It worked, did it not?”
“Yeah. I suppose it did.”
“Do you have any questions before I leave you to your destiny, Max?”
“I was just wondering: what’s it like to be God?”
“Do you really want to know?”
“I asked, didn’t I?”
“Fair enough. Actually, after a while I found it rather boring.”
“Seriously. That is why I decided to become you.”
Copyright © Sol Luckman. All Rights Reserved.
Introducing Sol Luckman’s latest multi-award-winning 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, Spanish, and soon in French.
Building on this deep dive into lucid dreaming, parallel universes and Hindu mysticism, Sol’s new novel, CALI THE DESTROYER—a page-turner of a sci-fi tale set in an Orwellian future seeded in the dystopian present that radically rewrites Gnosticism as well as the origins of the earth and humanity—was selected as Winner of the 2022 NYC Big Book Award and 2022 National Indie Excellence Award for Visionary Fiction, Silver Medalist for Visionary Fiction in the 2022 Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Contest, Finalist in both the New Age and Visionary Fiction categories of the 2021 International Book Awards, Finalist in both the Paranormal/Supernatural and Fantasy categories of the 2022 IAN Book of the Year Awards, and Distinguished Favorite for Audio Fiction in the 2022 NYC Big Book Awards.
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.