A few months ago, the magazine you’re about to dive into became a real thing. On the day we published Issue Zero, it was a bit of a surreal morning for me. I was supposed to catch a flight to Seattle, where I’d be at the AWP Conference for a week, but in typical San Francisco fashion, our plane was grounded for several hours due to fog. (Thanks, Karl.) While almost an entire passenger list full of writers stood idly by, hoping to make it in time for the night’s scheduled readings, myself and (now fellow editor) Lauren O’Neal anxiously sat at our wifi-equipped gate, eyes glued to the magazine’s analytics page and various social media feeds.
Now when I say surreal, I mean this: imagine you’ve helped create a small literary project, and the best you hope for is that someone—anyone—finds their way to it. Now imagine how it feels when, the day you go live, that someone turns into 1,000+ readers, and suddenly your eyes are scanning what seems like an endless stream of retweets and Facebook shares and other social media boosts, all positively publicizing your first issue. A tiny corner of the internet is alive with buzz, and as you watch the numbers jump, not just in U.S. locations but all over the world, you can’t help but exclaim “holy shit” over and over, because, in all seriousness, this is not what you expected. Sure, maybe word would get around, through some kind of grapevine, that a new publication was in town, but this kind of debut? I was floored.
Fast-forward two months later, and the next wave of surreality hits: through the generous support of over 150 funders, plus donations of personal time, books, and other prizes from countless individuals, this humble little literary magazine became fully-funded for a year. On April 14th, we received just over $12,000 in donations, some of which came from people we knew, and some of which came from people completely unfamiliar to us. To say we were bowled over is an understatement. When we launched the magazine, one of our main goals was to be able to pay all of our contributors for their work. With this funding, we’re now able to do that for a full year, and in an age where money always seems tight, this outpouring of generosity has left us speechless and moved.
This is all to say: Issue One of Midnight Breakfast exists because of you. And it’s my sincere hope that we’ve brought you yet another reason to smile with the essays, stories, and conversations so many of you helped bring to life.
I’m not one for spoilers. I believe in the power of the journey as much as the end result, and so I won’t divulge too much about the pieces contained herein. You’ll have to see for yourself. What I will say is, like many written works that comprise a collection, the essays, stories, and interview in Issue One are bound together by a common thread: place. This wasn’t purposeful—we didn’t choose a theme for the issue. But each writer, perhaps serendipitously, addresses notions of location, literal and otherwise, as a call to something greater. How, for instance, does place make us, nourish us, shape us, build us? How is place defined in a larger context? What does it mean to be an outsider, an insider, or somewhere in between? When does place limit us? And when does it set us free? With Issue One, these questions are investigated, challenged, and turned on their heads. From the sidewalks of Riverside to the subway cars of New York, from a dingy Bakersfield motel room to a famed Parisian bookshop, I’m thrilled to bring you writing that is engaging, intelligent, and emotionally resonant, paired with beautiful original art.
I do hope you enjoy Issue One of Midnight Breakfast. Word on the street is it tastes especially good with a side of bacon.