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
Having at last begun to realize that his dreams were generating bizarre effects, over which he apparently had little control, in the world around him, Max was beyond strung out.
But it wasn’t just the real-world implications of his dreams that disturbed him. He could hardly close his eyes without his internal movie screen lighting up with a poignant scene from his childhood, a rerun of some previous dream, or even a fleeting vision of his father stranded on a tropical beach somewhere.
In fact, the overwhelming majority of Max’s dreams now centered on his father. And each time he dreamed of him, he missed him more—to the point that everything else, from college to friendship, from other people to himself, seemed insignificant.
Even under the best of circumstances, depression is a wily opponent, a shape-shifting adversary constantly seeking to knock out one’s potential for happiness while turning one’s world upside down.
But in Max’s case, his depression was intensified by such a steady string of paranormal occurrences that he felt altogether overmatched—like a boxer foolishly punching above his weight.
In short, absent intervention of one kind or another, Max was on the brink of losing it.
“What are you looking at?” he asked Pablo that afternoon with irritation plainly audible in his voice, feeling the weight of the blue teddy’s gaze on him where he lay.
Pablo, as was his wont, made no reply. Just then, there was a knock on the door. “Who is it?” yelled Max.
“It’s me. Raul.”
“Then come in, for God’s sake. It’s your room, too. Or have you misplaced your key?”
Max heard his roommate take out his key and insert it in the door. The lock turned, the door opened, and there stood Raul, Ray-Bans in hand, peering into the dark room like an explorer encountering an unknown cave. “Max? Are you in there?”
“I’m right here.”
“I can’t see you—but I can most assuredly smell you. It’s like a bloody men’s locker room in here.”
“I’m just trying to get back to nature.”
“You, my friend, have succeeded.”
“What are you doing?”
“What does it look like I’m doing? I’m letting in a little light.”
As Raul opened the shutters, the afternoon sunlight, shining at just the right angle, landed flush on Max’s face. He squinted behind his unkempt beard and recoiled with one hand in front of him like a vampire.
“You remind me of Robert Redford as Jeremiah Johnson,” said Raul. “Only with a slightly gothic edge.”
“Close those stupid shutters.”
“I’m not closing anything, Snooze. You have a guest.”
“I have … a guest?”
At that moment, Tuesday, hair surrounding her in waves, appeared, silhouetted, in the bright doorway.
“Who asked you to come here?” said Max.
“That would be yours truly,” admitted Raul. “I figured I was the one who got you in this god-awful state by serving you that wretched bowl of oatmeal, so I should be the one to help get you out of it.”
“Look at you, Max,” said Tuesday, shaking her head. “You don’t do anything halfway, do you?”
“I warned you seeing him like this might come as quite a shock,” said Raul.
“How long has it been since you showered?” asked Tuesday.
“Too long,” quipped Raul.
“I’m just getting to know myself better,” said Max.
Tuesday managed a smile. “I’m afraid we’re all getting to know yourself better, Max.”
“It’s time we all knew you a little bit less,” said Raul.
“Raul did ask me to stop by today,” continued Tuesday. “But I was planning to come here on my own. I wanted to tell you I’m sorry, Max.”
“Sorry? For what?”
“For everything. For your mother. For your father. For not being there when you really needed me.”
“But you were always there, Tuesday. You and your mother always had my back.”
“That’s not what I meant. I’m sorry I didn’t confront you years ago when I first realized you were running away from yourself.”
“I didn’t know how to stop running, Tuesday. Otherwise, I’d have stopped a long time ago. A lot of good it did me.”
“I know. That’s why you needed my help. I’m ashamed I wasn’t brave enough to give it to you.”
“Ashamed? You? Let’s not even talk about being ashamed.”
“No, let’s do talk about being ashamed, Max. That’s the one thing we must talk about. Of all the things you’ve been carrying, guilt has been the biggest monkey on your back.”
“Would anyone care for a spot of tea?” inquired Raul. “I’m going down to the kitchen and attempt to scrounge up some Earl Grey.”
“Sure,” said Tuesday. “That would be nice.”
“Cream and sugar?”
“Just cream, thanks.”
“My pleasure. I’m glad to be of service. In fact, I enjoy being used. How about you, Max?”
“I’ll have a caipirinha.”
“Ha, ha. The very last thing I’m giving you right now in your deranged frame of mind is alcohol.”
“I’ll have Earl Grey, then.”
“Cream and sugar?”
“Coming right up.”
When Raul had shut the door, Tuesday placed Max’s desk chair beside his bed and sat down. “So, you finally took the red pill,” she commented.
“I guess I did. In a manner of speaking.”
“And you’ve been wishing ever since you’d taken the blue one.”
“Are you reading my mind?”
“I don’t have to.”
“Well, you could, you know. That bracelet you’re wearing is the real deal. I traveled back to where I found it.”
“I picked up on that. I’m not sure why I wanted your confirmation, Max. I’ve known the truth all along. I suppose I just wanted to sense some kind of connection with you again.”
“I can’t tell you how bad I feel, Tuesday. I’m so embarrassed. How could I just trash our friendship like that?”
“It takes two to tango. Besides, I wouldn’t worry. I retrieved it from the garbage.”
“Our friendship. It’s right here.”
Despite watering a little, Max’s eyes had adjusted to the bright light enough to be able to see his old friend grinning and tapping her heart with her braceleted hand.
“You mean you don’t hate me?”
“I admit I was pissed off. But I never hated you, Max.”
“I just wanted the whole situation with my father to be like rain falling on me. You know, I might get a little wet—but it wouldn’t seep under my skin.”
“I don’t think that’s how it works.”
“Me neither. Now anyway. The more I tried to forget everything, the closer everything kept hitting to home.”
“I couldn’t keep from wondering, if I was so ‘gifted’ and had all these ‘abilities,’ why I couldn’t save my father. It wasn’t as if his disappearance wasn’t telegraphed. And I was there. Two of me were there, Tuesday.”
“Did you ever consider maybe you weren’t supposed to save him?”
“Yeah. But how depressing is that?”
“That’s precisely what this is.”
“I realize that. I read through the clinical symptoms in my Stedman’s. I’m the poster child for depression.”
“Medical diagnosis is so unimaginative. I prefer to think you merely have saudade, Max,” interjected Raul, reappearing with and distributing three steaming mugs. “Cream for Tuesday. Cream and sugar for Max. And twice the cream and sugar for me.”
“You prefer to think I have what?” asked Max.
“It’s a Portuguese term for intense, crippling heartache,” explained Tuesday.
“Isn’t that the same as depression?” asked Max, who had sat up to drink his tea and was blowing across the surface to cool it.
Raul, having pulled his chair alongside Tuesday’s, replied while sitting down, “Not at all. Depression is when things are meaningless. Saudade, on the other hand, is when things are too meaningful.”
“Sounds like splitting hairs,” said Max.
“Perhaps it is. Either way, one can become rather incapacitated.”
“I just wanted to put it all behind me,” said Max. “All the tragedy. All the trauma. All the supernatural crap. Do you realize, Tuesday, I woke up at the crack of dawn for years—even when I didn’t have to—just to avoid REM sleep and the recurrence of lucid dreaming?”
“But Max, don’t you think there must be some kind of reason for all this paranormal business?” she asked.
“Yes, I do. Now, in any case.”
“You do? Pray tell.”
“I think I was destined to have these strange powers. I think I’m supposed to travel to where the blue Max lives. And I feel it has something to do with my dad.”
“The blue Max? You mean the Hanged Man? You dreamed of him?” asked Tuesday.
“Twice. Once before Dad was lost. I never got around to telling you. And then again not long ago. Only, this time, maybe it would be more accurate to say he dreamed of me.”
“Who in bloody hell are the blue Max and the Hanged Man?” interrupted Raul.
“Tell me everything,” insisted Tuesday.
Max recounted all he could remember about his first encounter with the blue Max in the forest whirlpool. Then he summarized his recent dream of being found in the tomb above the Giant’s Causeway by the blue Max.
“How very creepy,” commented Raul.
“What exactly did he say to you the second time?” asked Tuesday.
“He asked why I called him. And in exchange for helping me, he wanted my help.”
“And he gave you something, right?” said Tuesday.
“Yes. He gave me … my caul.”
“And you brought it back?”
“I brought it back.”
“Where is it now?”
“It’s right here,” said Raul, removing the caul from where he had placed it in Max’s desk drawer and handing it to Tuesday. “Perfectly ghastly, isn’t it?”
“What else did he say to you, Max?”
“He said we needed to talk. But not just yet. He said the caul could bring us together. He was born with it.”
“And here I was thinking you were born with it,” said Raul.
“He was born with it,” said Tuesday. “They were both born with it.”
“Now, that’s just plain mind-bending.”
“And very soon after you came back with the caul,” said Tuesday, “you started levitating objects, didn’t you, Max?”
“Yeah. Almost immediately.”
“I wonder what the connection is. I can feel it—but I’m having a hard time defining it.”
“I think I know. It’s as if your caul is some kind of computer disk!” exclaimed Raul in an inspired insight.
“A computer disk?” asked Max and Tuesday.
“Well, not an actual computer disk. That would be ridiculous. But nevertheless, some kind of ‘floppy disk’ for uploading and downloading data between networks.”
“Networks?” said Tuesday.
“Yes, networks. Systems. Or in this case, worlds. Some scientists believe reality itself is merely a computer simulation. Even to me it seems rather obvious the blue Max isn’t from this world—and would need some way to share instructions for accessing his world with Max here in this simulation.”
“Two reality simulations wouldn’t necessarily be mutually compatible?” asked Max, beginning to grasp the concept.
“Of course not,” said Raul. “Why would they be? They’re just as likely to be mutually exclusive. Think Apple and Microsoft.”
Max and Tuesday, their mental wheels spinning almost visibly, could only stare at Raul. Max couldn’t help but recall his father’s little speech on his twelfth birthday about Reciprocal Theory and the interfacing yet distinct worlds of space-time and time-space.
“I mean, come on,” continued Raul. “Haven’t you ever wondered whether cauls really are capable of granting supernatural powers—and if so, how?”
“I believe he’s right, Max,” said Tuesday. “Do you remember what the Hanged Man card says?”
Max recited the text from memory: “‘The Hanged Man often asks for a sacrifice in exchange for his wisdom. Feelings of being stuck or trapped persist only as long as you cling to your usual perspective. If you are willing to give up some belief or attitude that no longer serves you, your reward will be well worth it. You will gain a deeper understanding of your life and, with this new perspective, old dilemmas and chronic problems can be resolved.’”
“Exactly,” said Tuesday. “Don’t you see, Max? You just crossed an important threshold in that your perspective shifted, literally, to that of the blue Max.”
“I did just shift my perspective, didn’t I?”
“One hundred and eighty degrees. At least mentally. The universe is becoming almost too obvious in its choice of spiritual signposts.”
“I wouldn’t go that far.”
“Nor would I,” put in Raul.
“Regardless, I believe you’re right, Max. This has something to do with your father.”
“Does the Bradelring help you see that?”
“Does it help you see anything else about him?”
“Would someone mind telling me what the bleeping Bradelring is?” asked Raul.
“Tuesday’s bracelet,” said Max. “It’s a magical bracelet from the fairy world.”
“Well, I certainly know some fairies. But to the best of my knowledge, none of them is in possession of a magical bracelet. What does it do—help one dance better?”
“It enhances the wearer’s psychic ability,” said Tuesday.
“Psychic ability? Like ESP, reading people’s minds, that sort of thing?”
“Seriously, you two. Isn’t all this talk of dreams becoming real and abnormal abilities granted by enchanted objects just so much hocus pocus?”
“You’ve witnessed Max hovering in mid-air, Raul, and you still feel the need to ask that question?”
“Fair enough. So what am I thinking?”
“Too bad, that’s not what I was thinking.”
“No. But it’s the answer to the question you were asking.”
Tuesday responded in her patented fake British accent: “I wonder what color underwear she has on?”
A wash of red stained Raul’s dark cheeks. “Oh,” he said. “How embarrassing.”
“So you believe us now?” asked Max.
“I believe you, believe me. It would take some doing to make this crazy stuff up.”
“Now that that’s settled,” said Max, “where do we go from here?”
“For starters, we get you cleaned up and your sheets washed,” said Tuesday. “Then we go to work helping you master your siddhis.”
“That’s a Sanskrit word for paranormal skills usually reserved for yogis or other evolved beings,” explained Raul.
“Thanks, I know what siddhis are,” said 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.