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’s initiation began late that afternoon in the adobe office with only Maxwallah, dressed once again in his raven poncho and buckskins, in attendance. “Are you absolutely sure you want to go through with this, Maxwell?”
The twins stood facing each other over the examination table in the middle of the room. “Okay,” said Maxwallah. “Get undressed.”
“Initiation constitutes a rebirth. It is important to begin this experience in one’s birthday suit.”
“Right. Got you.” Max sat down in a nearby chair to remove his boots. He noticed his hands were shaking slightly and wondered if it showed.
“There is no reason to be nervous, Maxwell.”
“Were you nervous?”
“Just tell me one thing. Does it hurt?”
“Only a little bit at the start.”
When Max had completely undressed, sand dollar necklace and all, and his belongings were neatly stashed in one of the room’s cabinets, Maxwallah instructed him to lie on his back on the examination table. “Are you comfortable?” he asked, covering his twin with a wool blanket.
“I wouldn’t say comfortable. But I’m okay.”
“Good. I will fetch Artemisia.” Maxwallah knocked on the double doors from inside. Immediately, they opened and in strode Artemisia with her hair down over her shoulders.
She was wearing an elaborately beaded buckskin dress and carrying a smoking knot of sage with which she smudged first herself, then her son, then Max three times from head to toe.
“Great Spirit, we willingly offer ourselves to serve you in the Way of All Things,” she said while smudging. “We ask that you watch over this initiation and hold young Maxwell in the palm of your hand, now and always.”
“So be it,” said Maxwallah.
“So be it,” echoed Artemisia.
“So be it?” repeated Max when it became clear he was expected to contribute.
Artemisia extinguished the sage with a quick, fearless pinch and smiled. “Excellent. Maxwell, did you remember to bring the pouch containing jube and jork eggshell like I asked?”
“Yeah. It’s in one of the front pockets of my jeans.”
“He means his pants,” whispered Maxwallah when Artemisia looked confused.
“Right. Would you please get it out for us, Maxwallah?”
Artemisia took a marble tray from the cabinet and set it on her desk. Then she produced a stone mortar and pestle and placed them on the tray, tapping the tray twice, and poured some water from a pitcher into the pestle before adding the contents of Max’s pouch.
She ground the ingredients together with the pestle as the tray—like a flameless Bunsen burner—heated up the mixture until a curious, not altogether pleasant scent like chocolate eucalyptus filled the air.
Separating out half the concoction into a wooden bowl to cool, she added more water and something like powdered clay to the mortar and instructed Maxwallah to continue mixing. Meanwhile, she approached Max with the bowl and a wooden spoon. “Please sit up.”
“Are you really going to make me eat that?” asked Max, sitting up and staring at the indigo paste made of glowworm and the shell from a dinosaur egg.
“I am not here to make you do anything.”
“I take it this stuff is a pretty potent hallucinogen?”
“Toh-pey is whatever the initiate requires it to be. The Heywah referred to it as Great Spirit’s Tears.”
“It was said that when Great Spirit first beheld the world he had brought into being by way of his sons, Black Thunderbird and Star Mirror, tears of joy rained from his eyes. These tears were drunk by jorks, whose bodies were eventually broken down and changed into light by jubes.”
“I think so, too. Toh-pey, in the final analysis, is merely a guide to new levels of self-awareness. Do you wish to drink of Great Spirit’s Tears, Maxwell?”
Max accepted the spoon and ate. Surprisingly, the taste—distantly related to black truffles—was quite appetizing. Before long the bowl was empty. Instantly, he felt the stirrings of butterflies in his stomach. “How long until this takes effect?” he asked.
“That varies,” replied Artemisia, placing the spoon in the bowl and the bowl on the desk. “You should feel something immediately, but it could be hours before your perceptions become significantly altered.”
“Is there anything, like, an antidote—just in case things get out of hand?”
“No. That would entirely defeat the purpose.”
“This will pass. Consuming liquids is not a good idea at this stage. Try to still your mind, Maxwell, and relax into the experience.”
This Artemisia said while assembling a variety of what struck Max as surgical tools and arranging them on a wooden leaf she pulled out from the examination table: gauze, paperstones in different sizes and shapes, vials of strange liquids both clear and opaque.
“Are you preparing to do what I think you’re preparing to do?”
“What do you think I am preparing to do?”
“Give me a tattoo?”
Maxwallah laughed. “You should see how enormous your eyes are!”
“Is getting a tattoo necessarily part of a Heywah initiation?” asked Max.
“Only for young men,” replied Artemisia. “It was considered inappropriate for young women to permanently alter their skin.”
“Do I have a say in what kind of tattoo I get?”
“Of course. What kind of tattoo would you like?”
“I assume you’re good at this—meaning you’ve at least done it before?”
“I am—and I have,” smiled Artemisia.
“Mother gave me my tattoo during my initiation,” said Maxwallah reassuringly.
“No kidding? I like your tattoo.”
“Thank you,” said Artemisia.
Max thought for a moment, biting his lip. “I’ll have its … twin,” he said at last with a forced wink that belied how frightened he was of getting a tattoo—any kind of tattoo.
“I hoped you would say that,” said Artemisia.
“What other choice do I have?”
“None really—when you think about it.”
There were some preparatory steps before Artemisia could begin the actual tattoo. First, pulling his blanket down to his waist, she soaped and shaved Max’s chest. “That tickles!” he exclaimed.
“Please be still,” she ordered. “I do not want to cut you.”
“Not yet anyway,” put in Maxwallah, still mixing the paste in the mortar.
“Ha, ha,” said Max.
“That was a very kind thing you did for Mardah,” commented Artemisia while patting Max’s skin dry with a cloth.
“You know about that?”
“The whole village knows by now,” said Maxwallah. “I was at the harbor with Karul when she showed up practically screaming the news.”
“Well, it wasn’t out of generosity,” said Max. “I couldn’t help myself.”
“I do not understand,” said Artemisia.
“Mardah is my best friend’s twin.”
“Really? Does your best friend also suffer from congenital deafness?”
“No. That’s what was so … traumatizing. I had to do something about it.”
With Max’s chest thoroughly dry, Artemisia applied a clear, odorless oil from one of the vials. “What’s that you’re putting on me now?”
“Kimbu tree oil. We will let it sink in for a bit. It will sanitize and anaesthetize the area—and also greatly accelerate the healing process.”
“I could accelerate it with the energy.”
“That will not be necessary. You should conserve your energy. Unless I am mistaken, you will need all your strength tonight for other things.”
“What other things?”
“Who can say? Whatever they are, they will be revealed.”
Max tried to relax while Artemisia prepped her equipment. But he felt restless, a little lightheaded even, possibly owing to the toh-pey, and couldn’t get his mind off the day’s events.
“You mentioned in your note you were getting the Ily-bintu seaworthy,” he said, addressing Maxwallah. “I take it you were referring to a ship?”
“My father’s ship, yes. It has not been out to sea since … he undertook the Great Crossing. But it is still in fine condition. All it needed was a deep cleaning.”
“If you don’t mind my asking, why was it so important to get it seaworthy right now?”
“Because we are going out to sea.”
“As soon as you are ready.”
Maxwallah and his mother looked at each other with sober expressions as if communicating silently.
“Tell me what’s going on,” demanded Max.
“I am not sure now is the best time to discuss this matter,” said Artemisia.
“Maybe not. I still want to know what’s going on.”
“Sailors have reported that the wildfire has grown and moved closer to Blue Lake,” said Maxwallah.
“How much closer?”
“Meaning my father’s in even greater danger?”
“Is that why you were in such a rush to prepare the Ily-bintu?”
“It is like this,” said Artemisia. “If we leave before dawn and the wind is with us, we can be at the mouth of the Loud River by early evening.”
“That is the closest we can get you to Blue Lake,” added Maxwallah.
“This doesn’t change the fact I’m still going to have to fly the last leg, does it?”
“No,” said Artemisia. “But at least the last leg is a short one.”
“Less than three miles as the Leaping Dolphin flies,” she grinned.
It occurred to Max that his own fate wasn’t his own anymore. His fate had been braided together with these friends from a mysterious land like the sage Artemisia had used to smudge the three of them.
Psychologically, they each had a different reason for desiring to see the man trapped in a cave above Blue Lake saved. Artemisia still wept for her husband who was lost at sea. Maxwallah had been deprived of a role model in his Renaissance man of a father. And Max, for his part, was simply ready to have his father back.
“Well,” he sighed, closing his eyes in surrender to his destiny. “We’d better get this tattoo show on the road.”
Copyright © Sol Luckman. All Rights Reserved.
Introducing Sol Luckman’s latest multi-award-winning 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, Spanish, and soon in French.
Building on this deep dive into lucid dreaming, parallel universes and Hindu mysticism, Sol’s new novel, CALI THE DESTROYER—a page-turner of a sci-fi tale set in an Orwellian future seeded in the dystopian present that radically rewrites Gnosticism as well as the origins of the earth and humanity—was selected as Winner of the 2022 NYC Big Book Award and 2022 National Indie Excellence Award for Visionary Fiction, Silver Medalist for Visionary Fiction in the 2022 Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Contest, Finalist in both the New Age and Visionary Fiction categories of the 2021 International Book Awards, and Distinguished Favorite for Audio Fiction in the 2022 NYC Big Book Awards.
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.