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
Before heading back to his grandparents’ house, Max had one last piece of unfinished business. As evening approached, he pulled into the parking lot of Highland Cemetery with its picturesque view of the lighthouse down at Mystic Seaport.
Despite Captain Diver’s desire that his wife be laid to rest in Florida, it had been Max’s mother’s wish (explicitly stated in her will) to be buried here. The old cemetery, containing numerous graves dating back to Colonial times, was just up the road from her childhood home.
The last time Max had come here, he asked his Aunt Nadine why her little sister had chosen this as her final resting place. “Because she loved it,” was the reply. “As far back as I can remember, she used to get away up here to read, God bless her soul.”
The way Aunt Nadine spoke suggested she found his mother’s girlhood fascination with a graveyard eccentric. But Max, forever his mother’s son, had no difficulty seeing the appeal of the place.
There were winding paths and wrought-iron benches where one could sit in the sunlight or under the shade of a massive oak. From early spring to mid-autumn, the hilltop was practically bursting with perennials. And always, there was the bird’s-eye view of the harbor below.
Speaking of birds, ravens croaked loudly up in the bare branches as Max once again asked Pablo to wait. He retrieved the thunderbird kite from the hatch and carried it into the cemetery by the main gate, crunching dead leaves underfoot.
He hadn’t attended his mother’s funeral, being less than a week old in the coldest part of the New England winter. But he knew from his aunt that his father had broken down in tears. Max felt fortunate he hadn’t been old enough to see and remember that.
The cemetery was empty except for a stray mutt that trotted by as Max followed the cobblestone path leading to the summit. His mother lay buried under a rose-colored gravestone in the Holden family plot near her paternal grandparents.
“I brought you this,” he said, placing the kite face-up on the slightly depressed grass and securing the string to the headstone. “I read your article—which was really brilliant—and thought you might enjoy having a thunderbird for company.”
Glancing up at the sound of another raven, Max beheld the full moon, cold and bright, just coming up over the ocean. It struck him as yet another serendipity, almost as obvious as the dolphin, given that his mother’s name, Cynthia, originally applied to the Greek goddess of the moon.
Max had promised himself he would keep his emotions in check. Yet he couldn’t help weeping a little—not so much from sadness as out of love for an exceptional mother he never met … yet somehow knew. Drying his eyes at last, he turned and left the darkening cemetery.
Back at his grandparents’ house, the air was redolent with the scent of wood smoke. When he walked in the door with his duffel and Pablo, he found Grandad and Grandma Holden reading in the living room beside the crackling fireplace.
“Look what the cat drug in!” said his grandfather, peering over his spectacles atop the latest issue of Time. “A Maroon University man, unfortunately. Still, as my grandson, you’re welcome here.”
His grandmother closed the romance novel she was reading and asked, “How was the rest of your afternoon, Max?”
“It was … eventful.”
“Care to elaborate?”
“Not at the moment. I’m pretty wiped out, actually. And I need a shower.”
“Thanks. It belongs to my roommate. It’s … a long story.”
“I’m sure it is. Would you like something to eat before you go up? Your grandfather and I just split a ham sandwich.”
“A ham and cheddar sandwich,” interjected Grandad Holden while still appearing to read.
“Maybe I’ll come down and make myself one later. I’m still digesting those two huge bowls of chowder I couldn’t stop eating.”
“Well, if we’ve already gone to bed, there’s bread in the cabinet beside the door and plenty of fixings and condiments in the refrigerator. Just use your creativity.”
“I will, Grandma. Thanks.”
“You remember where the guestroom and bath are?”
“Perhaps tomorrow we can play a game of chess,” said Grandad Holden. “I’ll show you the value of a real Ivy League education.”
“Come here and give your old grandmother a kiss, Max. It’s such an unexpected treat to have you here with us.”
Having said goodnight, Max climbed the stairs to the guestroom, opened the door, and switched on the light. The room was decorated in the same rustic, Martha’s Vineyard style as the rest of the house, but Max was aware it hadn’t always looked this way. For the better part of two decades, the room had been his mother’s.
The feeling he always had when staying in the guestroom—sort of a sixth sense that he wasn’t entirely alone—gave credence to the paranormal notion that people’s energy could remain in places where they had spent a lot of time.
Not that the guestroom seemed “haunted” in any way other than by someone else’s memories. But therein lay the rub. Though he might have denied it in the past, Max was now forced to admit he possessed the ability (possibly related to his caul) to pick up on such transpersonal recollections floating in the ethers.
The oil portrait of his eighteen-year-old mother on the wall above the bed only added to his sense that there was something from her here in the room for him: some piece of information, some hidden message, if only he could locate it.
Setting his duffel and Pablo on the bed, he opened the accordion door to the closet and pulled the string on the bare overhead bulb. The bright light revealed what amounted to a tiny, compact museum of his mother’s girlhood and adolescence.
Most of the objects stored in the closet Max had already examined during previous visits. Hanging on the rack were his mother’s prom dresses, her high school graduation gown complete with her valedictorian’s sash, and her letter jacket as captain of the tennis team.
Her yearbooks going all the way back to middle school were stacked in chronological order on a shelf alongside some of her favorite novels. Imagining that Tuesday and his mother would have been close, Max sat on the hardwood floor reading excerpts from Wuthering Heights, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Outsiders, Flowers for Algernon, A Separate Peace, and Huckleberry Finn.
An hour later, smelling book must on his fingers, Max was about to stand up and turn off the closet light—when an old-timey Lego box (of all things) protruding from under stacked apple crates containing various pieces of his mother’s memorabilia caught his eye.
Intuiting that whatever was inside the Lego box was what he had been trying to find, he managed to slide it out without toppling the crates. He carefully removed the taped lid only to discover that the box was filled nearly to overflowing with … sand dollars!
There must have been a hundred tests, maybe more, most of which were unblemished. He hadn’t seen this many whole sand dollars in one place since … his twelfth birthday. The day before his father disappeared.
Suddenly, Max saw his fascination with sand dollars—which had its origins in the science report he did on them in third grade—in an entirely new light.
He had the distinct impression his mother was reaching out from beyond the grave to communicate with him—that she had been reaching out, had been communicating with him, for years. The problem was he had been unable, or unwilling, to hear her.
The effect of this realization was as unanticipated as it was cathartic. Having finally accepted the loss of his father merely hours earlier, Max felt his lifelong guilt at being responsible for his mother’s death steam up and away from his cellular memory like rain evaporating off a hot road.
Within seconds the guilt, the tremendous heaviness of it he had carried with him always, was simply gone. In its place, he was infused with a totally novel feeling: forgiveness. In his heart, Max forgave himself—and in so doing, he forgave everybody and everything else.
“Are you ready now?”
Turning at the sound of this question, Max found the room empty. The voice had seemed audible, but no one was there—at least no one he could see.
“I’m ready,” he replied.
It was the truth. If he hadn’t been ready before, he certainly was now. In the final analysis, his preparation for going in search of his father had less to do with decalcifying his pineal gland than with detoxifying his emotional body.
Without further hesitation, Max stood up, retrieved his toiletry kit from his duffel, and walked down the hall to the guest bath. After shaving his beard and mustache, he rinsed the sand and itchy hairs off his body in the shower, then dried off and returned to the guestroom wrapped in his towel.
In his absence, Grandma Holden had left a ham and cheddar sandwich, three chocolate chip cookies and a tall glass of milk on his bedside table with a note in her spidery handwriting saying, “Hope you sleep well. Sweet dreams!”
Wondering if she somehow knew more than she let on, he ate the sandwich and cookies and drank the milk while donning the clothes he had worn in his boyhood vision where he disappeared after the Tempus Fugit into the swirling vortex: tennis shoes, faded jeans, and Maroon University sweatshirt.
He put his caul in one pocket and his mother’s scarab hairpin in the other. After a trip back to the bathroom to brush his teeth and empty his bladder, leaving in his new contacts while strapping on his sleeping mask, he switched off the light and lay down on the bed with Pablo nestled in the crook of his arm. “Well, here we are, little buddy,” he said. “If I don’t come back, it was nice knowing you.”
In a very real sense, Max’s entire life boiled down to this exact moment: the moment where he closed his eyes and consciously invited sleep to come and—quite literally—take him away.
He recalled his earliest lucid dreams in which he sailed over various landscapes with gaping astonishment. He remembered the first objects he brought back, the debacle with Ms. Bridgewater and the chinquapins, his fight with Doug Biggins when his Dreambody made its initial appearance.
As soon as he thought of his Dreambody, he realized he was asleep. He glanced at his hands, then—as he slowly lifted up—examined himself snoozing peacefully beside Pablo on his mother’s bed.
He felt a little rusty, but the basic rules of dream navigation were indelibly imprinted in his psyche. He visualized the Interface, the membrane between space-time and time-space, and, purposely sending his energy in the opposite direction, willed himself to go there.
In a flash, he was inside the Interface’s bubble actually stepping into his Dreambody like a spacesuit. The instant he put it on, it seemed to sink down and become part of his own skin, his own flesh and bones.
Then he was back in the material sector. Thinking “up,” he immediately shot down the East Coast. He flew across Manhattan and down through Maryland, Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia all the way to South Florida.
He sailed low over Cape Carnival, catching a glimpse of the lighthouse at Dolphin Point in the distance, then continued on over Miami and the Keys straight into the center of the Bermuda Triangle.
Projecting forward into the future, he allowed himself to flow back into the past, racing with breathtaking speed through weeks and months in the material sector until he arrived at the morning just after his twelfth birthday.
What he saw then was a déjà vu of déjà vu. The Tempus Fugit was directly ahead—and so was the enormous vortex like a tie-dyed hurricane spinning open a flickering wormhole between space and time.
As in his initial dream, the Skyhawk was accelerating wildly, seemingly pulled by gravitational forces as it approached the eye of the storm. Try as he might, he couldn’t catch up—until, spinning out of control, his father’s plane dematerialized with a nearly blinding flash like a volcano erupting at close range.
Realizing he must be close by watching himself with a child’s eyes, Max chose to ignore the circular ramifications of this mind-bending fact as he took a deep breath and steeled himself to do the undone.
The giant wormhole’s interdimensional energy—which he could feel tingling like electricity in the very pores of his skin—was approaching its apex. Soon it would start to close. This was it. Time to cross the Rubicon. Time to put up or shut up.
Imagining himself as an arrow cocked and ready, Max sprang forward with all his dreaming might and vanished—barb, feather, and shaft—into the yawning unknown of the Otherworld.
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.