So I won’t be burying the lede, I’ll just say it: I’m going out on my own; I’ve resigned from The National.

To most of you, this will come as a complete surprise. But it’s something I’ve been mulling over for the last three or four months.

Basically I’m trading in the sure thing of a regular paycheck for the flexibility of pursuing projects that interest me in a region full of characters and stories. The sort of flexibility to do such just couldn’t be found working at the paper.

The title of this blog entry refers to a maxim my friend, David Dillon, often stated. An avid sailor, he understood that sometimes the best way from point A to point B was not in the straight, predictable line, but by tacking, following a zig zag course. He often encouraged me to find the way to my goals through the more unorthodox path.

So, I’ve given notice. I’ll miss coming into the Dubai office and chatting with the reporters; I’ve always loved the comeraderie in a newsroom. Now it’s time to research health care plans (which, thankfully, are much cheaper here than they are at home) and I’m in the process of obtaining my own residency/work visa. I’m thinking about the best way to set up your schedule when you work from home and the “the boss” is yourself.

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to share this journey with David. On June 3, he died suddenly from a massive heart attack at his home in Massachusetts. Since taking a buyout from The DMN in 2006, he had been up there teaching at Amherst, coming full circle professionally. David was a gifted, dedicated teacher and I will always be grateful he chose me to be among his many students.

More than a month after his death, I still find it hard to believe that I won’t hear his booming voice the next time I’m in the US or see an email from him pop into the inbox with the subject line: “what’s new in abu?” He knew I was headed in this direction and the last message I had from him, a few days before his death, was generously filled with advice. I only hope as I head out into these unfamiliar waters that I would’ve done him proud.

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