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
Max was there when she died. He was the reason she died. He had to live with that.
Her candle went out in childbirth. It seems like a cruel joke by the universe, but sometimes a child sees his first light at the exact instant his mother sees her last. It just happens sometimes—and unfortunately, it happened to Max.
As he learned years later when he was old enough to understand such things, there had been “complications.” He was positioned in an abnormal way (imagine that); there was an emergency procedure to save him; his mother wouldn’t stop bleeding; and she passed away right there in the hospital.
In the blink of an eye, what was supposed to be a joyous occasion, for all involved, turned into a life-altering tragedy—for all involved.
Strangely, Max was born with the caul, which means there was a removable membrane like a rubbery bubble of skin attached to his newborn head. Throughout history, and with gut-wrenching irony in Max’s case, children entering the world this way have been considered extremely lucky.
In Roman and medieval times, such babies were thought to be very special indeed, even marked for greatness.
There was a legend that anyone in possession of a caul could never drown, which made cauls highly valued by sailors. Others believed cauls could defend against sorcery and witchcraft. People would preserve and sell them, turning them into charms for protection.
By the time Max was born, such superstitions had been replaced by another superstition: having a caul signified one in possession of supernatural capabilities, such as ESP or the ability to heal with touch.
True, Max was “gifted,” to borrow Dr. Morrow’s word. And the nature of his gift did seem to be somewhat supernatural—at least in the sense of being above and beyond what is considered “natural.”
This fact Max had proved to himself by the time he turned twelve. His birthday was typically celebrated, if one could use this term for an occasion that elicited such ambivalence, not least in himself, in conjunction with New Year’s Eve on December 31st—even though he was technically born on January 1st at the stroke of midnight.
Throughout his eleventh year, Max’s dreams had taken on a more … intense quality. The colors were brighter. The sounds were crisper. He could actually feel the wind in his hair and eyes as he flew and flew right up until his father gently nudged him awake.
“Time to wake up, Snooze! Get dressed while I prepare the oatmeal.”
Then, right around the time Max noticed the beginnings of facial hair and pimples, when he had shot up three inches in as many months over the course of the fall and his voice started to crack and deepen, otherwise known as adolescence, his dreams abruptly shifted from Technicolor to, well, real.
He would dream of flying through rainclouds and wake up wet from head to toe. This caused his father to assume, naturally enough, that his son had wet the bed. But he hadn’t. He had never wet the bed, not even as a young child.
Or dreaming, he would zoom through a thick jungle dodging sinuous vines and huge fronds—only to wake up with strange bits of plant matter stuck in his hair and what looked like grass stains on his pajamas.
Could he be sleepwalking? Maybe. But that hardly explained some of his dreams—especially the ones he woke up from clutching bizarre, out-of-context objects from the dreamscapes he had just visited: sacha inchi seeds from Peru, a tattered prayer flag from Tibet, an obsidian arrowhead found behind the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan.
He placed everything he retrieved from his dreams in an old Lego box he had found one day, while waking, in the attic. The box he hid behind the stack of sweaters in his closet. He wasn’t willing to share these objects, given their strange provenance, with anyone just yet.
In trying to make sense of his increasingly confounding sleep experiences, Max was forced to consider the possibility (admittedly, troubling) that his dreams no longer stemmed from a virtual reality—but were actually taking place somehow. He had proof now, stashed in an old Lego box.
Remembering the epigraph to his mother’s field journal, “I shall not commit the fashionable stupidity of regarding everything I cannot explain as a fraud,” he began to understand it a little better.
It seemed to be addressing scientists, many of whom appeared to believe that anything real had to come with an explanation, as if nature somehow owed them that—or else it wasn’t real.
This “scientific” mentality appeared deeply flawed to Max, especially in light of his dreams, not to mention all the mysterious phenomena that obviously were quite real, if still barely fathomed.
Visions. Reincarnation. Telepathy. Telekinesis. Levitation. Spontaneous combustion. Time travel. UFOs. Ghosts. Apparitions. Poltergeists. Bigfoot. For personal reasons beyond simple curiosity, during the first half of sixth grade when his dreams began to turn concrete, Max read every book in the library on such topics.
All of these mysterious occurrences, and many more, had been documented and studied by thousands of people for hundreds of years—yet most modern scientists acted as if they couldn’t sweep these phenomena under the rug fast enough.
The alternative approach, of course, which his mother had obviously chosen, was to embrace (or at least, strike a truce with) life’s mysteries. This required allowing yourself not to be able to explain something, temporarily anyway, and be okay with that—a tall order for big brains.
The more time went along, and the more dreams of an apparently tangible nature Max experienced, the more questions he had. Not infrequently, he found himself wondering about his caul.
Aunt Nadine had shown it to him once. She had been there at his birth—and despite her grief at losing her younger sister, had thought to save and preserve her nephew’s caul, which remained in her keeping almost two decades.
“Do you mind if I hold it?” he asked, examining the thin, translucent membrane—folded, dried, and shrunken with age—in his aunt’s hand.
“Not as long as you’re very careful,” she replied, placing the caul gently in his palm. “Those things are as rare as hen’s teeth.”
It was light, diaphanous, and almost weightless—like brittle plastic. In a sense, it was all that remained, physically, of his mother.
“Time to give it back,” said Aunt Nadine. “You’ve held it long enough. I’ll put it in a safe place.”
“Why was I born with the caul, Aunt Nadine?”
“Because God made you that way.”
“But why did God make me this way?”
“God moves in mysterious ways.”
Max had been assured his caul had nothing to do with the “complications” that took his mother. At the very least, that was a relief. But did his caul have anything to do with his being so complicatedly … “gifted”?
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.
PREORDER YOUR COPY & SAVE 20%!
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.