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
Just over an hour later, Max steered the Explorer into the empty driveway of his grandparents’ lavender two-story house and—wondering if they were even home—got out and stretched.
It had been almost three years since he had last visited Mystic with his Aunt Nadine. But things, in New England, have a way of staying the same. Seemingly nothing about the old place—from the white picket fence to the ancient oaks—had changed.
Having climbed the stone steps to the porch, he rang the doorbell. Before long the door opened and his grandmother, in a purple housedress matching her curly, purplish hair, stood on the threshold, blinking through her spectacles in an attempt to discern the identity of the young bearded man on her doorstep. “Max?” she asked, squinting harder. “Max? Is that you?”
“Yeah, Grandma. It’s me.”
“Why, you’re so grown up I hardly recognized you! What in the world are you doing here? It’s not Thanksgiving yet, is it?”
She looked momentarily confused, like someone who had just taken a wrong turn in time. Max bent down and kissed her alabaster cheek, catching a whiff in the process of her familiar scent of roses. Laughing, he replied, “No, Grandma. Thanksgiving isn’t for two weeks. I just thought … Do you mind if I stay for a night or two?”
“Do I mind? Listen to yourself. Max, my dear, you’re always welcome. Your grandfather will be delighted when he gets back from the barbershop. I hope nothing’s the matter?”
“I just needed to come up for some fresh air.” As if on cue, a stiff breeze clicked the oak branches and Max distinctly smelled the salty sea. “College life can be … hectic.”
“Don’t I know it. I was a Smith girl in my day. I met your grandfather, a dashing Dartmouth man, at a coed dance. Shall we get inside out of this wretched wind? Sometimes I wonder whatever possessed us to retire in the Northeast.”
“I’ll make us some hot cider. That will warm our bones.”
“I’d like that.”
“Are you hungry?” Grandma Holden asked as she led Max through the living room (which appeared as unchanged as the outside of the house) into the cozy kitchen with lots of beige cupboards. “Driving always made me positively ravenous. I was just about to heat up some clam chowder for lunch.”
“I’m starved. Clam chowder sounds delicious.”
“Then sit down while I take care of things and tell me all about your life.”
Though he had rarely spent much time alone with his grandmother, Max always felt comfortable around her. Besides resembling his mother with her ringlets of hair and mischievous brown eyes, and having been a teacher as well in her day (of high school English), she displayed a similarly vivacious temperament.
Sighing with gratitude for this respite from the fatigue and stress of late, and glad to be in a place that felt more like a home than merely lodgings, Max sat down at the little four-seater table with its old-fashioned red-and-white checkered tablecloth.
“Somebody sounds bushed,” said Grandma Holden while pouring cider in a pot and placing it on a gas burner. “Too much studying, too much socializing, or a combination of both?”
Max laughed again. “Not enough of either, or so I’m told.”
“Freshman year can be challenging—like taking a trip to a foreign country where one scarcely speaks the language.”
“Tell me about it.”
“Do you have a girlfriend?”
“I have … friends. But no girlfriend.”
“All in good time. Have you settled on a major yet?”
“I started out pre-med. But I’m probably going to switch. I’ve had a notion to go into … anthropology.”
His grandmother turned and stared with wide eyes. “Goodness, you just gave me quite a déjà vu,” she commented with a bittersweet smile.
“Maybe I shouldn’t have brought that up.”
“To the contrary. I asked you to tell me about your life. You still look just like her, you know.”
“So do you.”
“Which means you and I are alike, if you haven’t figured that out already.”
“I figured it out.”
“I figured you had. Though you’re fairly inscrutable behind that impressive beard.”
“I’m going to go out on a limb and guess you don’t care for facial hair?”
“Actually, I don’t mind a man with a beard—as long as he’s handsome like yourself,” said Grandma Holden with a devilish wink. “But I wouldn’t count on a lot of encouragement from your grandfather. Old insurance executives will always think like … insurance executives.”
“Thanks for the heads-up. Speaking of, how’s Grandad’s hip these days?”
“He manages. Though not without his share of complaining, bless him.” After putting on the chowder to heat, she joined Max at the table. “Let me see your hands.”
“Why do you want to see them?”
“You can tell a lot about a man by his hands.”
Max showed her his hands.
“They’re quite large,” she remarked, momentarily taking them in her own miniature, wrinkled hands. “I bet you’ve still got some growing to do.”
“Physically, mentally, or emotionally?”
“All of the above, I suspect.”
“I was wondering,” said Max, changing the subject, “if you ever met one of my mother’s old boyfriends named Andrew?”
“Andrew Icarus? Of course! Though I always called him Drew. Why do you ask?”
“He’s a professor of anthropology at Maroon University. We’ve become … friends.”
“It really is a small world, isn’t it? Young Drew visited us here on numerous occasions. I rather liked him, though your grandfather found him a bit odd. Cynthia and he were thick as thieves. I thought they might wind up married—before she met your father.”
“It seems Professor Icarus thought the same thing.”
“I’m sure he did. Tell me, Max, while we have a moment to ourselves, what’s really on your mind?”
To his surprise, Max felt the same sensation he often experienced around Tuesday of being read like an open book yet not particularly caring.
“Just tell me to stop if my prying annoys you.”
“It’s not that, Grandma. It’s just … complicated.”
“Does it have anything to do with your parents?”
“It usually does.”
“Yes, I imagine in your case that would be especially true. My poor child, how I’ve hurt for you all these long years.”
The look on his grandmother’s face was so far from condescension, and so close to pure empathy, Max simply said, “Were you ever afraid to do something you weren’t even sure how to do—but you knew you had to do it, one way or another?”
“Yes. You just perfectly described my feeling when I received the phone call that your mother was gone. I knew I had to tell your grandfather, even though it would break his heart and for the life of me I didn’t know where I would find the words.”
“What did you do?”
“The words came and I told him.”
Max heard the front door open and close. Seconds later, his grandfather, dressed in gray slacks and a muted argyle sweater, thinning gray hair freshly clipped close to his mottled scalp, limped into the kitchen. “My goodness gracious!” he said catching sight of Max. “Look what the wind blew in!”
Max stood up and gave his grandfather a hug. “Good to see you, Grandad!”
“Likewise, my boy! I saw the SUV with the Florida plates in the drive and wondered who on earth could be visiting us from so far south.”
“Actually, Max drove down from Rhode Island,” explained Grandma Holden.
“Ah, yes. Rhode Island. I think I’ve heard it. Isn’t there a second-rate university up there that claims to be a member of the Ivy League?”
“I believe you’re thinking of Harvard in Massachusetts,” replied Max.
Flashing his false teeth, Grandad Holden laughed long and hard at his grandson’s joke. “Good one,” he said. “Too bad you didn’t choose my alma mater. Dartmouth can always use a man with a sense of humor.”
“Care to join us for some cider and chowder?” asked Max.
“It should be ready in ten minutes or so,” added Grandma Holden.
“Excellent. That should give Max here just enough time to shave the wool off his face.”
Of course, Max did no such thing—yet. Instead, after lunch with his grandparents, with several hours of daylight left, he persuaded Pablo to join him for a short drive back across the state line to Misquamicut Beach, where his mother used to hang out with Professor Icarus.
“Beautiful, isn’t it?” he said as they pulled up outside the little seasonal village, whose buildings were now closed, within shouting distance of the Atlantic.
Pablo seemed impressed.
“Wait here,” said Max, putting on his jacket and grabbing the box containing Maizy’s thunderbird kite from the back seat.
At a picnic table under a nearby pavilion, he removed the box’s plastic wrapping and opened it. It occurred to him he was finally finishing his twelfth birthday nearly seven years after the fact.
He assembled the kite with some difficulty in a stiff seafront breeze with nearly numb fingers, then sprinted with it across the deserted sand toward the crashing waves.
Getting the thunderbird aloft was like riding a bike—he might as well have been a kid again on Oceanside Beach with his heart pounding and his father yelling, “Higher, Max! Faster! That’s my Snooze!”
The diamond-shaped thunderbird, golden yellow with Native American accents in red, soared up into the sky, where it was framed by patches of blue peeking through the clouds. Max ran up and down the beach with the kite riding as high as the single string would allow until he was well and truly exhausted.
Finally, letting the kite fall, he too collapsed, huffing and puffing, on the sand. Perhaps it would be an exaggeration to say he was happy—yet for the first time since Captain Diver disappeared, Max found himself remembering his father without a sinking feeling of gut-wrenching sadness.
In that very instant, something shifted inside him. A heaviness grew lighter. A blocked passage opened. A cloud in a portion of his mind seemed to lift and let the light in—and suddenly, as the sun literally broke through the clouds with perfect timing, he realized he could think more clearly.
Though he didn’t encapsulate it in quite these terms, at long last, after much pain and toil, he had arrived at the fifth and final stage of grief: acceptance.
A clicking sound followed by a high-pitched whistle interrupted his reverie. Looking up in the direction of the noise, he was shocked at coming face to face with a bottlenose dolphin chattering at him dangerously close to shore.
He hopped to his feet and quickly approached the water’s edge. Sporting a toothy grin, its nose skyward, the dolphin kept whistling and click-click-clicking as it rode the swells. To his astonishment, Max understood what it was saying.
“Don’t worry, I’m on my way,” he replied through a series of clicks and whistles that would have been completely unintelligible to any human listening. “Now, get out of here before you beach yourself!”
Amazingly, the dolphin did as directed, spinning and rocketing off back into the deeper water. Max watched until it disappeared about a quarter of a mile out. Still processing what had just happened, he gathered his kite and returned to the Explorer to share this latest development with Pablo.
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.