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
In the late afternoon, the sun dipping in the sky, the four contented beachgoers strolled back to the Diver home on Tupelo Street, where Tuesday and her mother took turns showering off the day’s sand and salt in the guest bath, while Max and his father did likewise in their own showers.
When everyone was fresh and clean (if a bit sunburned in the case of the ladies), dressed in jeans and long sleeves for the evening, and sufficiently hydrated with fresh lemonade, Captain Diver brought out the sangria—for the enjoyment of the adults, of course.
Meanwhile, he fired up the gas grill on the back patio for steak kabobs and corn on the cob to go with a Greek salad Maizy was preparing in the kitchen, while Max and Tuesday were charged with setting the dining room table.
“Your house is huge,” said Tuesday, placing the knives on the napkins to the right of the plates. “You wouldn’t think so from the outside. But it just goes on and on.”
“It’s not as big as your place,” replied Max, setting out four water glasses. “Your house is like a funhouse. I mean that as a compliment.”
“What’s in there?” asked Tuesday, indicating the study door with a flick of damp hair.
“I thought so.”
“Want to see?”
They entered the large room illuminated by light from the street lamps shining through French doors that led out onto a small private porch. Max switched on the overhead to reveal built-in shelves stacked with books (mostly science and history), Captain Diver’s massive mahogany desk overlooked by a framed photo of himself in astronaut gear, and a massive table on which sat the International Space Station.
“I got this for Christmas,” said Max, pointing out the latter. “Dad and I built it.”
“I like it. It’s … detailed.”
“What did you get for Christmas?”
“Books and clothes, mostly. Though technically, we celebrated the Winter Solstice.”
“Some kind of pagan thing?”
“White witchcraft. Druidism, basically. You know, natural magic.”
“Why does your mom have a giant tattoo of a thunderbird, Tuesday?”
“Well, the thunderbird is also known as the phoenix.”
“You mean the bird that spontaneously combusts and is reborn from its ashes every so often?”
“Exactly. She felt she was reborn a number of years ago when she left the commune and started thinking for herself again. Is this your mom?”
Tuesday had picked up the small framed photo on Captain Diver’s desk of Max’s mother seated—decked out in full aviator garb with a sort of whimsical “retro” flair while sporting her scarab hairpin—in the cockpit of the Rara Avis.
“She was beautiful.”
“She died tonight. Twelve years ago.”
“I know. It must be a bummer to have that line up with your birthday every year.”
“It is. But not so much this year. Thanks to you guys. I haven’t seen Dad enjoy himself so much … maybe ever.”
“That’s sweet of you, Max. I like your dad a lot. But you look like your mother.”
“Yeah, I’ve been told that my whole life.”
“You’ve been having dreams again, haven’t you?”
“Why do you say that?”
“Why did I say that?” she asked seriously, with a curious glance at the gold bracelet Max had given her. “It’s almost as if … I could read your mind.”
“Fair enough. I’ve had a few.”
“Want to talk about them?”
“One of these days. But not tonight. Tonight I just want to be normal.”
“I just want to be a regular guy having a regular birthday.”
“Hey, it’s your party.”
“Want to see my room?”
After Max showed Tuesday his room, the two friends returned to the kitchen to help with last-minute dinner preparations. As soon as Captain Diver returned from the grill with sizzling kabobs and corn deliciously blackened in the husks, Maizy instructed everyone to join hands around the table for the blessing.
“Lord and Lady,” she said, “please watch over us and bless us as we eat of your bounty. Bless this sacred food, this gift of the earth, for which we thank you, and bless Max also on this important day in which he becomes a young man in your sight, so mote it be.”
“So mote it be,” repeated Tuesday.
“Amen,” said Captain Diver. “Dig in, everybody!”
Over the course of the afternoon and evening together, Max’s father and Maizy had acted more and more natural around each other—which made the general atmosphere casual and enjoyable.
During dinner, sipping a glass of the Burgundy Maizy had brought on top of a glass or two of sangria, Captain Diver’s tongue was sufficiently loosened to tell a few stories (which Max had heard before but still found interesting) from his journeys into space—including the one where he saw a UFO, up close and personal, out over the wing of the Space Shuttle.
“What do you mean, a UFO?” asked Maizy, whose sunburned cheeks were also slightly wine-flushed.
“I mean a UFO. An unidentified flying object.”
“You got a really good look at it?”
“What did it look like?” asked Tuesday.
“Like an angel.”
“That’s what I said.”
“You mean, like, with wings?”
“I mean multicolored light in that shape, yes.”
“What happened to it?” asked Maizy.
“After a minute or two, it just flew off faster than anything I’ve ever seen. To this day, I don’t know what it was. I certainly didn’t put it in my report.”
“Were you frightened?” asked Tuesday.
“To the contrary. I felt extremely … peaceful.”
“Astronauts see these kinds of things all the time,” said Max. “They just don’t talk about them very often.”
“It’s true,” said Captain Diver. “Up there you see WSFM constantly.”
“WSFM?” inquired Maizy.
“Sorry. It’s an unofficial intelligence community acronym. Stands for ‘weird science & frigging magic.’ Like UFOs. You get used to this kind of stuff after a while up there.”
“I’d love to travel into space,” said Tuesday. “Especially if I could see an angel.”
Captain Diver refilled Maizy’s wine glass, then his own. “I didn’t say that’s what it was.”
“But it could have been.”
“Sure. Absent a plausible explanation, why not?”
“Have you ever seen any UFOs, Max, in your dreams?” asked Maizy.
“Max isn’t talking about his dreams tonight,” said Tuesday.
“Really? Why not?”
“Tonight he’s a regular boy having a regular birthday.”
“Did everyone enjoy the food?” asked Captain Diver. “My tongue was wagging so fast I hardly tasted mine. But the wine was excellent.”
“The food was delicious,” said Maizy. “You can grill out for me anytime.”
“Me, too,” said Tuesday. “The corn was especially tasty.”
“That’s Max’s favorite part as well.”
“Who would like some rum balls?” asked Max. “My grandmother made them. They’re loaded with sugar, but they’re fantastic.”
“I’ll try some,” said Tuesday. “My pineal gland will recover.”
“Why not,” said Maizy.
“Would anybody else like a cup of coffee?” asked Captain Diver. “We’ve got a late night. And Snooze here is likely to crash without a little pick-me-up.”
“Ha, ha. Very funny, Dad.”
“Snooze?” wondered Tuesday.
“It’s an old nickname,” said Max.
“Well, if the shoe fits.”
After some discussion on the merits of coffee (which Maizy insisted, despite its reputation, provided many health benefits when consumed in moderation), Captain Diver drank his black, Maizy sweetened hers with honey, Tuesday added cream and honey, and Max took his with just cream.
Meanwhile, Captain Diver asked for Maizy’s help in the kitchen and the two excused themselves. “They’re putting candles on your cake,” commented Tuesday, matter-of-factly.
“Only it’s not a cake. It’s a pie … a key lime pie, I believe.”
“How do you know?”
“I don’t really. It’s just … intuition. Am I right?”
“I have no idea. Dad’s been kind of secretive about it. But whatever it is, I’m sure he stashed it in the garage refrigerator.”
“Key lime pie is your favorite dessert, isn’t it?”
“Now that you mention it, yes. Another intuitive hit?”
At that moment, sure enough, Max’s father, singing “Happy Birthday” with Maizy, walked back in carrying a key lime pie with twelve flickering candles.
Max looked at Tuesday as if to say, Somebody must have told you, to which she shook her head No and shrugged, as surprised as he was, while singing along. He blew out the candles with a deep swimmer’s breath—and everybody clapped and cheered.
The pie was tart and wonderful. When they had each eaten a piece, feeling “stuffed to the gills,” in Captain Diver’s words, they cleaned off the table and washed the dishes that didn’t go in the dishwasher. Before long, they reconvened in the living room to open Max’s presents.
He opened Tuesday’s first. An unmistakable new-clothes smell filled his nostrils as he tore open the box and held up a gray sweatshirt with “Maroon University” in maroon lettering across the chest.
Max stared nearly in disbelief, realizing it was the exact sweatshirt (only brand-new, before suffering years of wear and tear) from his dream where his eighteen-year-old self followed his father into the vortex.
“Do you like it?” asked Tuesday.
“It’s … it’s a great sweatshirt. Where did you get it?”
“I ordered it—with Mom’s help. I sent off for an application this fall and a university store catalog was included.”
“You sent off for an application—for college?”
“Yeah. Why not?”
“Uh, you’re in sixth grade?”
“So. I just wanted to see what’s ahead of me.”
“That’s some serious initiative,” remarked Captain Diver, impressed.
“She’s always been highly self-motivated,” said Maizy.
“Thanks for this,” said Max.
“You’re welcome,” said Tuesday. “I hope you enjoy wearing it.”
“I’m going to enjoy wearing it right now,” he said, slipping it on over his shirt. It was slightly big, with plenty of room for him to fill out.
“You look fantastic,” said Tuesday. “You really belong at Maroon University.”
Maizy’s present turned out to be a kite—but not just any kite. Still in the box, it was a large, single-string diamond kite, elegant in its design, featuring a vaguely Native American bird motif … a thunderbird.
“Wow, that’s some kite!” said Captain Diver.
“This is super cool,” said Max. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen one quite like this. I can hardly wait to get this thing in the air.”
“You really like it?” asked Maizy.
“I love it. Thanks, Maizy!”
“You’re most welcome. Happy Birthday!”
“We’ll have to put that thing together and sail it as soon as I get back,” said Captain Diver.
“Get back? From where?” asked Max.
“I’ve got to fly a mission tomorrow. Just down to Puerto Rico.”
“They’ve actually got you flying a mission on New Year’s Day?”
“I know. Crappy timing. But I should be back by bedtime. And I assume, now that you’re officially a man, you’ll be okay without your Aunt Nadine?”
“I’ll be fine, Dad.”
“I’d invite him to stay with us,” said Maizy, “but Tuesday and I are driving up to visit relatives in Atlanta tomorrow.”
“Thanks. But I really don’t mind staying by myself,” said Max.
“Aren’t you going to open my present?” asked Captain Diver.
His father’s present was only the size of a shoebox—but enigmatically heavy. Max unearthed a generic cardboard box from the wrapping paper featuring birthday balloons. Opening the box, he wondered if he was dreaming.
“What in the world?” asked Maizy.
“Is this what I think it is, Dad?” said Max, holding up and examining a pair of sci-fi-looking telescopic goggles with a camouflage design.
“If you think they’re night vision goggles, yes,” his father said. “They’re my old ones. But they’re still in excellent condition and almost state-of-the-art.”
“Whoa,” said Tuesday. “Those are, like, spy goggles!”
“You can spot a mouse at a hundred yards in the pitch dark with those babies,” said Captain Diver. “I thought you’d enjoy playing around with them.”
“I’ve always wanted a pair of these. Thanks, Dad!”
“Don’t mention it. They’re waterproof and practically indestructible—so have at it!”
Max had in mind to watch something from the Divers’ DVD collection before the fireworks, but they never got around to it. The four had way too much fun to vege out in front of the TV turning off the lights and taking turns finding each other in the dark with Max’s night vision goggles.
Hide-and-seek had never been such a blast—for parents and children alike. Everybody came up with some creative hiding places, though none better than when Captain Diver somehow wedged himself behind the washer in the laundry room, but the night vision goggles never failed.
Around eleven-thirty, played out, they put aside the goggles, downed some eggnog, put on jackets, and headed back over to Oceanside Beach for the fireworks.
“This is going to be really good,” said Tuesday, rubbing her hands in expectation as they made their way through the crowd to the water’s edge.
Being an iconic NASA town, Cape Carnival took its New Year’s Eve fireworks display seriously. Standing between his best friend and his father arm in arm with Maizy, Max was reflecting on how this was his finest birthday—when rockets of every color and description began launching and exploding high overhead.
“It must be midnight,” said Maizy, kissing Captain Diver on the lips, apparently to his surprise as much as anyone else’s. “Happy New Year, everybody!”
“Who needs mistletoe?” said Captain Diver with a grin. “Happy New Year!”
“Happy New Year!” yelled Max.
“Happy New Year!” shouted Tuesday above the crescendoing rocketry, giving Max a friendly peck on the cheek. “And Happy Birthday.”
“It sure has been.”
The fireworks went on for nearly half an hour, great pulsing strobes, fiery dandelions and starbursts of light brightening both sky and water. It was hard to tell which was reality and which was reflection, as if there were two displays, above and below, going on simultaneously—one in space-time, mused Max, and the other in time-space.
In that instant, an image of his mother’s face popped into his mind. Smiling, it was very clear and almost tangible, only more aged than in her photographs, set against a backdrop of exotic plants leading up to an adobe casita with a tile roof—as if part of her still lived on somewhere else, naturally growing older with the years.
The vision (or whatever it was) ended with the fireworks. When the four revelers returned to Tupelo Street, Max and Tuesday, both yawning, split the sand dollars while their parents said their tender goodbyes beside the Winnebago.
“Parting is such sweet sorrow,” said Tuesday, quoting Shakespeare while climbing sleepily in the passenger seat, in the fake British accent with which she had first addressed Max that day at school seemingly years but really only weeks ago.
“Goodnight, Tuesday,” said Captain Diver. “I’m glad you could celebrate with us this evening.”
“Me, too. I hope to see you again, Captain Diver,” she yawned.
“What a strange thing to say!” commented Maizy.
“Sorry. I’m half asleep. I meant I look forward to seeing you again.”
“Same here,” said Max’s father.
“Thanks for coming, you two,” said Max.
“We wouldn’t have missed it for the world,” said Maizy. “Happy Birthday!”
When mother and daughter were gone at last, father and son stood side by side in the humming streetlamp light for a long minute savoring their memorable evening.
“Now, that’s what I call a double date,” said Captain Diver.
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.