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Jul. 30 2010 — 8:00 am | 149 views | 0 recommendations | 2 comments

So, this is it: Goodbye, True/Slant

A political and geographical map showing count...

Home. A new home. (Image via Wikipedia)

The last few months, I’ve been a ghost. After my dad died, I haven’t been right — and I’ve been everywhere. Since I learned he was sick — in mid-March, on a crackly phone line in Sanaa, Yemen — I’ve laid my head in 17 beds in as many cities across six countries. From Sanaa to Riyadh, Doha to Dubai, New York to Washington DC, Miami to Istanbul, it’s been a ceaseless slog.

For too many, I’ve been a ghost: For my wife, my daughter, my friends, my family. I left the Middle East, I went to America and the hospital, he died, and then we tried to figure out how to go forward — how to move on, me to Istanbul and my wife to Baghdad.

Lost in much of this was my ability to focus on anything that would be useful to the True/Slant community, of which I had been a very proud member.

Since I left jobs as an editor at The Village Voice and Rolling Stone, I’ve walked from New York to New Orleans, I’ve become a father, and just as hard as any of that, I’ve tried to become a full-time writer.

True/Slant has been a big part of this transition, and I’m truly grateful to Coates Bateman and Michael Roston for the chance.

From my new base in Istanbul, I bid you all adieu. I wish it weren’t so. With colleagues at T/S as various as Michael Hastings, Catilin Kelly, and David Rees, I felt like I had been part of a rollicking and often rigorous community — one perhaps unlike anywhere else on the Web.

(Would that it weren’t folding! Way to go, Forbes/World Inc./Megacorp LLC, for squashing a small, good thing!)

For now, my new landing spot is “Not From Here.” Please follow me on Twitter, and consider these stories from my archive, all exclusive to T/S.

Sincerely yours,

Nathan Deuel

Jun. 21 2010 — 11:03 am | 83 views | 0 recommendations | 0 comments

Into the sea

We all find our own place.

We awoke at dawn — the whole family — and met at the beach. My uncle Jeff carried my dad’s ashes, and I had a pair of shears. Everyone else carried cut flowers, and we waded into the cool waters off St. Augustine.

The sun was only just breaking, and shades of red sat low on the horizon. Leaving the others behind, Jeff and I pushed deeper, the water up to our chests.

We gave each other a nod. I cut the sack, Jeff submerged the bag, and my dad swirled into the Atlantic Ocean.¬† I grabbed Jeff’s shoulder and pulled him back. A few paces behind, my mom called out. We all held hands.

Three gulls streaked low over the horizon. The sun burned higher in the morning sky, and we stood in the sea. Waves rolled in and the flowers we’d thrown sank into the deep.

Bye, dad.

At last, you — and all of us — have maybe come closer to being¬† free of all this.

May. 17 2010 — 10:52 am | 263 views | 0 recommendations | 1 comment

We’re moving from Saudi to Turkey

Hagia Sofia

My new neighbor: Istanbul's Hagia Sofia. (Image by qyphon via Flickr)

Dear readers,

I’m sorry about my infrequent posting lately. Below are two reasons why, and by way of continuing apology, a link to my latest piece — a feature in the Brown Alumni Magazine about being alone in a room in Saudi Arabia with a young woman who wants to attend an ivy league university.

1. As I wrote with some emotion last month, my beloved dad Al Deuel passed away April 13 after a brief battle with cancer. We are all still crushed. And among other things, his passing came just days after my wife and I left Riyadh, which we no longer call home.

2. Instead, Kelly McEvers and I are most likely moving to Istanbul, where I will be based as she looks to rotate into Iraq as National Public Radio’s new Baghdad correspondent.

So over the next weeks and months, my focus will begin shifting from Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and the Gulf, to Turkey, Iraq, and the greater Middle East. If you have any advice, questions, or avenues of research you’d like Kelly or I to pursue, please don’t be shy.

For now, here’s a sample of that BAM piece about interviewing young women in Saudi for undergraduate admission to Brown — and also an appeal for your continued patience. Everything’s different now.

continue »

May. 6 2010 — 4:31 pm | 165 views | 0 recommendations | 0 comments

A visit to Faisal Shahzad’s Pakistan village

The gate is locked at terror suspect Faisal Shahzad's family home in Pakistan. (Screen grab courtesy of The New York Times.)

A major shout-out for friend and colleague Adam B. Ellick, who submits another one of his knockout videos for The New York Times. Ellick is one of a new kind of journalist: a so-called “one-man-band,” who can parachute into a difficult place and assemble both front-page print stories AND three- to ten-minute video reports.

His latest dispatch is from the ancestral Pakistan village of terror suspect Faisal Shahzad. Check out the video — and see how Ellick’s reporting compares to other print pieces you’re reading now. Video’s pretty good, huh?

Previously: Ellick contributed an moving and challenging video primer on the spread of extremism in Pakistan’s Swat valley.

Follow me on Twitter.

May. 2 2010 — 7:58 am | 72 views | 0 recommendations | 0 comments

Sweet grief

Tribeca 2008

I'd like to be a part of it. (Image by jenschapter3 via Flickr)

Last night, I encountered old friends who didn’t know and — recounting the story of my dad’s recent death — turned an otherwise lovely gathering into my own personal weep-fest. I managed to get out the door before it got really messy, but en route home, I found myself walking down the middle of a Tribeca street, sobbing, attempting to eat a cupcake. Crying while eating: It’s so right now!

* With thanks to Penelope Cray for the new title.

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    About Me

    Since graduating from Deep Springs College, I've written and edited for magazines (Rolling Stone, The Atlantic Monthly), newspapers (The Village Voice, The National), and websites (NPR.org, SixBillion.org). In the summer of 2007, I packed a bag and walked from New York to New Orleans, a trek that took five months, three pairs of shoes, and a couple thousand miles. These days, I live in Saudi Arabia with my wife, Kelly McEvers, who covers the region for National Public Radio.

    See my profile »
    Followers: 41
    Contributor Since: August 2009
    Location:Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

    What I'm Up To

    The Review

    I’m a regular contributor to The Review, which Reihan Salam calls a “younger, radder” New York Review of Books.

    Past pieces include:
    -”Down in the floods,” something in Saudi Arabia may have changed
    -”Checkpoint Qatif,”among Saudi’s Shiite minority
    -”Excursion into the desert,” in which my landlord pulls a gun.
    -”You’ll never walk alone,” a night of soccer in sweltering Riyadh.
    -”Get on the bus,” a story of public transport in Riyadh.
    -”Saudi Arabia’s got talent,” from the nation’s first-ever open TV auditions