Creating connections through the arts and across cultures

Part I: L. D. Gussin speaks about the background for “The Seeker Academy”

In Part I of my interview with L.D. Gussin, he talks about his writing background, his writing process, and question of place as background for The Seeker Academy. For an enjoyable read, go to www.theseekeracademy.com and check out his own personal seeker's journey.

JGR: Tell us something about your background as a writer.

L.D.Gussin:
I’d made a run at being an imaginative writer, but given up. I then worked for fifteen years around interactive media and the Internet. I stopped writing imaginatively and for a time I stopped reading. When I returned to fiction writing, time had muddled my style and my point of view, so I had to nearly completely start over.

JGR: It took you three years to write the book. What set you on that path? What passion fueled you for that long?

L. D. Gussin: I went back to fiction writing because it was a door I felt I had to reopen, and because I had little in my life then to get in the way. I expected to give up after a month, then three months, then six months. Once I got six months in I wouldn’t stop.

I picked the subject partly because, in a return to serious writing, I had to all over again find my point of view and style. The complex subject matter helped me make these discoveries.

JGR:
Is Seeker Academy based on a particular places? Have you ever been on staff at a holistic retreat?

L. D. Gussin: My fictional academy amalgamates what I was able to learn about a dozen similar retreats, including Esalen, Omega, Kripalu, Crossings, Breitenbush, Hollyhock, Spirit Rock, and others.

My personal experience was at Omega Institute, where I spent a month before I thought to write the book, and then a week for each of the next three summers as I was writing. The Hudson River, near Omega, in time began to take on a thematic role in the story.

Physically, Seeker resembles Omega; this is partly because, when I began, I didn’t think I could successfully describe an entirely imaginary retreat, so I worked from a life model. Plus, Omega is an enchanting place.

Read more about L. D. Gussin and his work at www.theseekeracademy.com.

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