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Letter from the Guest Editor

Taryn White


Without particularly knowing why, texts like Alice in Wonderland, Frankenstein, and Ulysses have always brought a sort of comfort to me. During times when my own skin and bones hardly felt like home, I felt as though I had to become less for a world that declared I was too much, and thought my imperfections were ugly because a social media trend had determined them so. It was hybrid texts like these that made me feel truly seen and valued for who I truly was. It’s only in hindsight that I realize why hybrid texts spoke to me so deeply and continue calling to me to this day.

Hybrid writing defies containment, categorization, and compartmentalization, which the world frequently demands of us, as individuals, so that we might be more palatable and easier to understand. Any piece of us that might defy these demands is deemed to be “imperfect” and therefore “ugly.” These labels are also often assigned to hybrid texts because they defy the conventions of format, grammar, spelling, and genre amidst a number of other things. In abandoning the requirement to fit neatly into a box for the comfort and convenience of others, hybrid texts not only mirror the parts of us we try to hide but also remind us that there is beauty in imperfection.

When I feel as though I don’t belong somewhere or I am of no value because of my imperfections, it’s texts like those which are included in this month’s issue that remind me that my true, real self is likened to overwhelmingly beautiful pieces of art. If these “imperfect” things are beautiful, then why shouldn’t the raw, vulnerable versions of ourselves be viewed as beautiful too? As you read through this selection of pieces, I welcome you to evaluate and analyze yourself and how these pieces make you feel. As you read pieces that reject the conventions of format, genre, and setting, I ask you to search for fragments of yourself mirrored within them and the underlying beauty behind them.

In multipurpose tokens that celebrate staying clean from a taboo addiction, spam mail that addresses the audience directly and exploits the desires which most expose our humanity, and prose style advertisements about traveling via tossed chairs, there is beauty and an invitation to a sense of belonging. Art is beautiful, and whether it imitates life or life imitates it, as is part of the everlasting debate, I believe this makes us beautiful, too. Imperfections, flaws, and all. 


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