Lust, Not Love: A Writer’s Relationship With Words

Writers write. Lovers love.

But for many writers there is a momentous realization when you combine these things. It becomes a lust for language.

According to the bible, love is “a strong or constant affection.”

Lust, however, has a more instinctual basis. Lust feeds a basic need, and drives the sinner to indulge in his or her poison of choice.

To Peter Selgin, his lust for life manages to feed and fuel his lust for writing. He sees everything through sensuous seconds frozen in time, even from a young age. When his Kindergarten teacher exchanged a kiss on his cheek for one of his first paintings, his mind was set: art is the consummation of romance.

Selgin turned from visual art and came face to face with words in such an intimate way that he now works to explore the flaws in his writing for the sake of enjoying the full scope of its possibility. He admits that he sometimes can be distracted by the shroud of the muse; pretty words on paper. But he knows that the true beauty of a subject lies in its naked form. Fiction, he says, is the most honest form of human expression.

For many years he achieved that honesty primarily through fiction. It wasn’t until the late 2000’s that he discovered that intimacy can also be achieved through exposing himself directly; something that he does so tactfully and with such honesty that the audience can be both appalled and empathetic to private events he reveals in his nonfiction and memoirs.

He draws influence from people: from himself, from those around him, and how the environment rules those that inhabit it. He notices, remembers, relishes the romance that washes his writing in watercolors or charcoal or whatever hues he wishes to cast.

Romantic relationships and questions regarding faithfulness and sexuality arise in much of his writing. Because, I think, in the end it’s something that we can all understand. Love of ourselves, love of others, love of our surroundings: the presence or absence of it fills us all with something worth exploring. Something worth the pain, the puzzlement, and the piecing together of a masterpiece.



2 thoughts on “Lust, Not Love: A Writer’s Relationship With Words

  1. daydreambeliever95 March 5, 2015 / 10:13 pm

    This is a really interesting concept. As humans, we experience many primal needs, but the urge to write described as lust is a concept I’ve never considered. But I definitely understand it. I am not an avid writer, but I have done a lot of theatre and performance. I’ve felt exactly what you have described- the physical necessity of performance and art. This was a really interesting angle to view that from.


  2. Jasmine Ly March 11, 2015 / 7:13 pm

    Selgin is so intriguing! He’s understandable and outlandish at once, which I suppose is an excellent duality for a writer to possess. As a part-time art historian, I definitely agree with his statement that “art is the consummation of romance.” It would be difficult to find any piece of art, be it painting or prose, that is not, at least to some degree, driven by romance and sensuality. Good art has to have passion in it. It doesn’t necessarily have to be sexual or romantic passion, like Selgin seems to feel, but it has to be passionate. It has to mean something more than what’s featured on its surface and that meaning has to derive from some kind of love. If there’s no love, then why create in the first place?


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