Pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and sloth.
Local resident Linda Seger is well-versed in the seven deadly sins after spending 25 years living in Los Angeles and more than three decades working for the Hollywood machine. "I have found there are scoundrels and scallywags all over the business," the Colorado College graduate said from her home in Cascade.
Seger is a script consultant - a job she claims to have inaugurated in 1981 based on the method of analyzing scripts she developed during her dissertation project. Since then she's consulted on more than 2,000 scripts, including more than 50 produced feature films and more than 35 produced television projects. She's also written 13 books about the scriptwriting process, including "Creating Unforgettable Characters" and "Making a Good Script Great" - the latter of which director Ron Howard is said to have used for all of his movies since "Apollo 13."
That's the business side of her life. The personal side is highly spiritual and religious. She grew up as a Lutheran, became a Quaker in 1970 and now identifies as a Christian Quaker. She also professes to have a ThD, which equates to a doctorate in theology and drama.
Her newly revised book, "Spiritual Steps on the Road to Success," combines her love of the two fields. She'll give a free talk Tuesday at Cornerstone Arts Center at CC.
"She notes that we maintain success by keeping our connection to God alive and following wherever God might call us," wrote a reviewer of the book on the website The High Calling.
Working for decades in the entertainment industry has taught Seger much about the machinations of the all-powerful human ego, but also that there are spiritual ways to tame it.
"You get the ideas of theme and power and money out of the way," she said. "I say to myself, 'If I take money out of the equation, what would I do?' At times I've gotten hooked with (thinking) that's a really good job, but then I'm dealing with the job too much from the viewpoint of money."
Her favorite chapter in the book, "Meeting the Seven Deadly Sins," evolved after she found success in the business and faced a new set of challenges - how does one stay true to her values, morals and ethics when questionable options and situations present themselves?
"I've tried to be aware of what is coming into my spirit that is either a temptation or an entanglement," Seger said. "I've learned more about evil, however we want to define it - whether as negative or toxicity. Evil is entanglement. When you're in the sphere of something negative and bad, it's so hard to untangle yourself."
Part of the solution is developing a better sense of smelling evil. "How do I recognize there is always a temptation with evil?" she said. "How do I do that and stay away from that and not get hooked in by the good part? It's fascinating to me that there is always a little bit of good mixed in with evil."
Years of experience have provided Seger with tools to break away from any unhealthy situations and people she encounters. They include meditation, talking to trusted confidants who will remain discreet and bringing together what Quakers call a clearness committee - a small group of people who don't offer advice but who help clarify spiritual ways to deal with the issue.
"You deal with it. You don't let it eat away at you," Seger said. "I'm trying to pray first rather than last."
Success for Seger is about making a positive impact, particularly when it comes to her work.
"I am here to contribute and here to help this person and it doesn't matter who that person is or if they're a new writer or an Academy Award-winning writer," she said. "All are equal. I am to give my best and to be aware of that."