Why I Started midnight & indigo

midnight and indigo literary journal for black writers
Photo credit: createHER

December 2018

I hit the jackpot on the morning of my tenth Christmas, I remember it like it was yesterday. Tiptoeing across the abbreviated L from my bedroom to the entrance of the living room, I spied it. A box. Huge. Sparkly. Adorned with a matte red bow twisted to the side just so, as if to mask its own excitement at the grand unwrap. My ten-year-old self giggly because I knew, even before I opened it, that Mom had gotten me what I’d always wanted.

A Brother.
Typewriter that is.

Oh, not just any typewriter…this was the one with the built-in white-out strip and the screen that allowed you to view what you intended to write before it typed it out. Yes, jackpot. I wrote four stories that night, and spent a countless number of hours sharing my prize with my childhood best friend Joyal over the next year or so; birthing our own characters, rewriting the tales of Edgar Allan Poe, and crafting rap lyrics (Gucci and Mercedes…we were so serious) over snacks. Our words were going to change the world.

My love of writing was only matched by my love of reading. Racing home from school, on most days, to find out what new adventures Pippi, Ramona, and Anne were going to get into, before I discovered what seemed like an entire world of other, previously hidden stories by women who were once girls who looked just like me. Characters who spoke to many of the life stages I walked in, often speaking to experiences or awakening an innate familiarity that I was not always mature enough to fully comprehend. Stories by Black female writers become a refuge.

Something magical happens in the pages of a book, when you see yourself reflected in the characters you love. Or the first time you see your own words staring back at you from a previously blank page.

I’ve spent the past few decades chasing other dreams. More “tangible” dreams of success in business, media. Ignoring the one that was placed in my heart all of those years before. But the last time my younger self tapped me on the shoulder and inquired, If not now, then when, I was ready to answer.

midnight & indigo is the fulfillment of a young girl’s dream, manifest in the woman she grew up to become. Launched in December 2018, midnight & indigo is a literary platform, both print and digital, dedicated to publishing short stories and narrative essays by Black women writers. One I hope will make a meaningful contribution to the literary movements that have thrived for generations; through the pain shared in Incidents in the Life of A Slave Girl, and the self-love lessons of I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings. From the often underestimated love told in Their Eyes Were Watching God, to the resilience displayed in Half of a Yellow Sun. And now, through a new generation of writers who will share their own stories, and readers who will find connection in their prose. I hope to work with you to make midnight & indigo a magical place.

We are truly a start-up. No huge budgets or corporate backers. Just my God-given vision and a growing team of writers willing to lend their talent and voice to an emerging platform.

The most important piece is YOU, our readers. Thank you in advance for being a part of the midnight & indigo family. I want to hear from you. What do you want to read? What are your favorite genres? m&i is a dialogue. We’re in this together.

Mother. Daughter. Friend. Rock. Superwoman. I’m proud of who I am becoming. midnight & indigo is my attempt to step out on faith and do what He wants me to do. I pray that it can bring you closer to living in your purpose too. Let’s do this!

Ianna A. Small, CEO and Founder, midnight & indigo