On Hybridity

My favourite way to beat the heat - yuanyang
                                                My favourite way to beat the heat - yuanyang

I’m Max, the new editorial assistant intern at Ethos Books. My past month has been a wonderfully exciting dive into the publishing world. I am incredibly delighted to be working alongside a team that puts so much thought and care into every manuscript that passes through our hands.

Prior to joining Ethos, I was attending creative writing classes in college. I thought I would use this newsletter to share how one class on hybrid writing changed the way I now view the world.

Central to this class was the notion of hybridity: the idea that something is not defined with just one trait, but with many all at once. Considering hybridity in everything we experience allows us to see beyond demarcations and categories, to blur and transgress boundaries, and to appreciate things for what they are, rather than what we think they are. Each element of life is allowed to shine on its own merit.

Through the lens of hybridity, I have begun to pay more attention to the world around me. My favourite morning drink is a hybrid of brewed tea, condensed milk and ice cubes, individually great ingredients that combine into a refreshing mixture. Mok Zining’s The Orchid Folios, one of my favourite Ethos titles, is a hybrid of poetry, prose, images, documents and fictional exam questions, all reflecting on the beautiful yet harrowing orchid. I find myself in awe of the wondrous complexity life offers when each encounter brings with it a wealth of new meanings to be explored.

I have also come to realise my own hybridity. I am a hybrid of both my mother and father. I carry both their personal histories within me. But I am also a hybrid of many other labels: Chinese, Thai, queer, plus-sized and middle-class, just to name a few. As I embrace my hybridity, I relieve myself of the pressure to fit into neat boxes that society has set out for me. I am not just one thing; I am meant to be many all at once. Thinking of myself as a hybrid being allows me to defy simple classification. It allows me to feel free.

I hope this notion of hybridity has, in some way, inspired you to discover new meanings in the everyday. I hope you find joy in revisiting our intimately familiar world.

In kinship,

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