I’ve been asked that question countless times in the last three and a half years. Up until recently, my answer had been always been the same; I couldn’t explain it and I didn’t understand it myself.
In 1963, when I was twenty, I spent a summer painting in Salzburg, Austria at a school overseen by Oskar Kokoschka, the famous German Expressionist artist. My instructor–William Thomson–a well-known English painter, was not only seventeen years my senior and highly seductive, he was also married and had a mistress. Yet the first time I met him the world stopped, if only for a second. Although I warned myself and was cautioned by others to stay away, I ended up in a deeply emotional relationship with him. It became a life-changing experience.
Decades later on a frigid winter day, as I entered a store near my apartment in New York City, I became aware of a song playing. It was unfamiliar, yet it evoked a flash–actually a vision of the fateful moment when I met Bill all those years before. Shocked and confused, I practically ran out of the store. Even more confusing was suddenly realizing I had a name for a book and the first page. It was a story I knew well and one I had never told to anyone, even my closest friends; it was the story of that summer. Back home, I threw off my coat, looked at the computer, took a deep breath and began writing compulsively, at the same time trying to comprehend what was I doing and why this was happening to me.
Between the hours and days of often obsessive writing, I searched out a couple of psychics who both told me that I was always meant to write the story and now the time was right; it was obvious (to them) that I had channeled it. I liked what they said and actually did feel an unusual energy around me. Being a pragmatist, however, I wanted a more realistic explanation. That’s when I met Dr. Galina Mindlin.
Dr. Mindlin, a well known Psychiatrist and founder of the Brain Music Treatment Center in New York City, explained that something about that particular song had resonated with me, triggering long buried memories. Once that first “visual” was unlocked, it was as if drawers in a filing cabinet began to burst open, one by one, spilling out a cascade of memories.
The song, “Summer Wine,” is about a young woman seducing an older man with wine made of “strawberries, cherries and an angels kiss in spring.” Although it was I who had been seduced, Dr. Mindlin explained that it had likely been deep in my mind that I, in turn, had seduced my instructor. She wasn’t far wrong. Also, aware that something extraordinary was happening to, and around, me that summer, I had taken notes, even going so far as to write down parts of conversations.
As I wrote, I found myself laughing and crying and actually reliving that summer. I was lighter, energized and in love with a fabulous memory from long, long ago. Although it took more than three years, those memories, combined with my journal, some faded letters and several trips back to London and Salzburg, became the memoir, 31 Days: A Memoir of Seduction.
Marcia Gloster is our newest author. Her memoir, 31 Days: A Memoir of Seduction, is out now. Visit our website to learn more.