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Letter from the Editor

Vallie Lynn Watson


I have spent a lot of my life on the move. I was born in the Midwest, lived overseas in the Middle East until I was eight, then moved to the Deep Deep South, my family’s birth home, where I stayed put for the rest of my growing-up years. Then college, grad schools, and jobs constantly shuffled me around the bottom right quarter of the United States for the following thirty years, until life plopped me firmly in Lake Charles, Louisiana, last summer, a few months before my fiftieth birthday.

I intend to make only one more move in my lifetime.

I am a person guided and defined by place, or maybe by my lack of permanent place, a trait I didn’t fully recognize about myself until I set foot on the cobblestone of downtown Wilmington, NC, in October of 2008, less than thirty minutes after my plane had landed at their tiny airport. The moment I stepped out of my rental car and looked around, and down a block at the Cape Fear River, I thought I am in love.  I parlayed that love into residency, once briefly in 2010, and then, from 2013-2023. 

Over the fifteen years since Wilmington and I found each other, my love hasn’t abated, but other loves have interrupted us a few times. The most recent intrusion is an incredibly welcome one, as it landed me in a world that I love even more than Wilmington: the world of teaching fiction writing to graduate students in an MFA program, a job I’ve been dreaming of and working towards ever since my first creative writing workshop with Barry Hannah in the mid-1990s. 

Lake Charles is fantastic; the McNeese State University faculty is small and close-knit, the students are amazing, and I’ve made lovely new friends. I feel like I have been here for years, so I already know how much I’ll enjoy this adventure, and I already consider it home. That doesn’t make Wilmington, or the other places I’ve lived, any less of my home(s). It’s the opposite—distance seems to enhance my appreciation of place, and having those diverse branches of belonging is usually comforting to me. But, sometimes it makes me feel disconnected, like I don’t belong in one particular place.


When guest editor/McNeese graduate student Taryn White first talked about her love of hybrid works, I had to admit that I wasn’t 100% sure what “hybrid” was. She said something funny like, “That’s the point!” The overall idea of hybridity, to me, signals a lack of definitive identity, an echo of my own displaced nature. So as we ventured forth with this issue, I only hoped to come across work that captures that same feeling of fullness my rich tapestry of place gives me, and I was not disappointed!

All Hybrid: This is It, in my opinion, is a stunning array of texture, color, idea, language, and story . . .  even though maybe I still don’t know what “hybrid” is! What I do know is that the works that make up this hybrid issue are works that Boudin fell in love with. Words with artful representation. Creations that could and would be at home in many situations, but exhibit such a kaleidoscope of possibility that that kaleidoscope has become a category of its own. I take it back: ask me what hybrid writing is, and I’ll point to Boudin’s February kaleidoscope and say, “This is it.”

There’s a place within a place within the place of Wilmington, a hidden, back area that’s maybe 10’ x 10’, a place you might find people like me, a place where no one and everyone belongs, and in that tiny place, you can find the original piece of artwork that is featured as the cover art for All Hybrid:This is It. A massive mural, it’s weathered, it’s haunting, and it probably won’t be there a hundred years from now. But for this moment, it is there, and it’s offered from me to you all as my ideal model of hybridity, a gift from my place to yours, with special thanks to E., place proprietor, and to the artist, Phil Cumber. 


To learn more about submitting your work to Boudin or applying to McNeese State University’s Creative Writing MFA program, please visit Submissions for details.

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