Editor’s Note | Katelyn Dunne

Putting together this issue these last few weeks has left me feeling very sentimental. Three weeks from now marks the day that The Drowning Gull‘s astounding Founder and Chief Editor, Tiegan Dakin, accepted me to head the rag-tag group of staff as the Managing Editor. Since that day, my time here has truly been incredible.

Throughout this past year, I’ve seen staff members change (and be dearly missed), issue formats changing and growing, the birth of the Sea Salt series, and incredible relationships form between authors and staff.

Seeing these connections bloom has been my favorite part of this whole adventure. As a character says from Pretty Little Liars, “we’re all connected like a big bowl of linguine.” Each time a writer sent a piece into this journal, a connection was formed; each time I reached out to authors for Penned, a connection was formed; each time a reader picked up this humble lit mag, a connection was formed. Sometimes, it feels like, as writers, we are floating out into the world, incredibly alone and continually vulnerable. We feel like there’s no one to see us, no one to hear us. The incredible things taking place here prove otherwise.


I am honored to say that I’ll be stepping up to take over The Drowning Gull. Tiegan will be deeply missed and she will always remain the golden treasure for TDG. I am forever grateful to her; she made a dream come true for me. I look forward to honoring Tiegan’s creative vision while also continuing to move TDG in a forward direction. I can’t wait to be a part of the lives of more writers, editors, and artists. We are all part of the same dream. There is a lot of art out there yearning to be created and recognized, and that is what The Drowning Gull will continue to do.


I’d like to thank the contributors to this issue and everyone who submitted a piece that came of blood, sweat, and tears. To all the readers, thank you. We are doing this all for you; you make every second worth it. And, most of all, a big thank you to Tiegan for being TDG’s undying backbone and keeping this dream alive.

Thank you all for the most incredible year of my life. The Drowning Gull may be small, but we are all in this together, we are all on the same journey. Enjoy this issue, you’ve all deserved it!


“We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom. We lived in the gaps between the stories.”

Blessings to all of you out there,

Katie Dunne

Managing Editor


Editor’s Note| Katelyn Dunne

                                                      “hark, now hear the sailors cry,

smell the sea, and feel the sky

let your soul & spirit fly, into the mystic…”

― Van Morrison

            I’ve never seen the ocean.  I’ve never seen crabs roaming about dunes with pinchers that seem like the monsters hiding in childhood closets; I’ve never seen dolphins off in the distance and imagined them as mermaids singing a siren song, irresistibly reeling me in. I’ve never tasted the briny salt in the air.

But I live near Lake Michigan. Even though it’s only a small fraction of the size of an ocean, it’s always seemed endless to me. As a child, I’d go out there, feel the burn of glassy sand between my toes, look at the sun glittering and dancing upon the skyscrapers and water. In the summer, I’d hear the rumble of laughter and music coming from the groups of people littering the beach. In the winter, I’d collect beached seashells and algae and stuff them carefully into the pockets of my puffiest purple coat. I would wonder what it would feel like to run out into the cold water, disobeying the “Do Not Swim” signs, and embrace the rush of torn plastic and ice.

The Drowning Gull’s first Sea Salt issue explores these feelings. Everyone who has touched water has been irreversibly touched back by it. They get swayed by the current; pulled in my its song. We all are lulled by the same waves. We consist of water, like Mary Ellen Talley’s Body of Water describes; and Lisa Marie Brodsky’s poem, Sleep is an Isthmus, hauntingly alludes to the fact that we are always drawn back to it.

I’d like to thank Tiegan for her endless effort to The Drowning Gull. Without her, none of this would be possible. Ben, Shonavee, and Rebecca (the latter two people, unfortunately, have discontinued their work for us) also deserve our gratitude for the effort they have put into this first Sea Salt issue. Thank you to our contributors – without you, there would be no issue!– and also to anyone else who submitted work (your effort and trust is valued!). Everyone who reads this issue, and everyone who continues to support all of us here at The Drowning Gull on our literary adventure, receives our hugs. Enjoy!

Blessings to all of you out there,

Katie Dunne

Managing Editor

Editor’s Note

Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.

— George Eliot

Nature helps us breathe.

Not just literally — in the scientific sense that flora takes in carbon dioxide and releases oxygen, et cetera, et cetera — but in the emotional sense. Husband being a pain? Go for a run. Struggling to pay the bills? Find a park bench in front of a lake with a mother duck leading her ducklings into the murky water. Having an existential crisis? Take your old bike out of the shed, and ride down the tallest hill you can find at the fastest speed you can go without killing yourself. Watch the world pass you by, wind whipping across your face and making you squint against its force.

When I was younger, I went to visit the same park every Sunday lunch-time. My brother and I would swing on the swings; walk from island to island via rubber buoys. There was a garden next to the park containing an abundance of agapanthus and maybe some Birds of Paradise. And within that garden, I could just detect the pitter-pattering of little feet. My first guess? Maybe a snake. But when I got closer, the mysterious creature moved toward the outskirts of the garden and poked its head out of the foliage — or should I say, two heads? Two albino guinea pigs. Were they wild? I wasn’t sure. Maybe they had clawed their way out of a cage and gone to explore the neighbourhood like curious dogs. I wondered what their lives must have been like; how their journey had led up to that point when they peered out from underneath the willowy agapanthus leaves.

I think that’s ultimately what we wanted to explore in this issue –; what I wanted writers and artists to explore. The wonder that we all experience at the goings-on in the world; something that isn’t just present during childhood, but throughout adulthood as well. The way that nature is your silent yet comforting friend. And, while restricting a journal by theme and genre may have been too limiting or specific for a seedling journal, I know we found some gold.

As always, gratitude is in order. Thank you to the contributors– your support is welcomed– and of course to our readers. Without you in mind, I don’t know how I would continue! I also want to dedicate a special thanks to Rebecca, Shona, Katie, and Ben for doing what they do (mostly) promptly and without complaining too much. Guys — I value your opinions! And I can’t wait to launch into the future of our new mini-publication, Sea Salt. And I can’t wait to do our third main issue. And I love coming home in the afternoon to what has basically become my own little writer’s club making a big difference in the world.

Anyway, enough soppy stuff. Take a look at our encounters with nature. Become enthralled.

With love,

Tiegan Dakin

Chief Editor