Ever since designing the site back in 2001, I’ve been the webmaster for Susan Orlean’s web site. Susan is my favorite client, but I don’t have the time to devote to the site anymore so Susan and I are looking for someone to take over. Here are some rough requirements for the position:
- The site and its administration are pretty simple; you should be comfortable with editing HTML, CSS, the Unix command line, Movable Type, SFTP, and such.
- You should possess a little bit of design sense. Your immediate task will be to flesh out the page for Susan’s upcoming book about Rin Tin Tin, so you’ll need to figure out how to fit the required content into a clean well-presented readable layout. There’s not a lot of heavy Photoshop or Illustrator work required…this is not a redesign-the-site project.
- On-going maintenance is fairly minimal…occasional text updates, new article additions, dealing with very infrequent site outages, etc. You know, good old fashioned webmastering. Your monthly time commitment for maintenance will be in the ballpark of 0-30 minutes.
If this sounds like something you might be interested in, please contact Susan with a short note about who you are, the work you do, links (not attachments!) to a portfolio or resume, that sort of thing. Make sure the subject line clearly references this project somehow. Thanks!
Susan Orlean catalogs the different kinds of online “friends” one might have.
The friend you sort of know, because you have friends in common and have maybe attended the same events — not together, but you’ve both ended up there because you know a lot of the same people. You perhaps would not have thought to invite this person to a small party, and yet you do include him in your wider sense of your social circle — and you now communicate with him via social media more than you ever did before such a thing existed, and you now have a surprising intimacy after years of static, unenergetic just-sort-of-knowing one another (formerly known as “an acquaintance”).
Susan Orlean writes about the lopsided intimacy of big cities and social media.
Life in Manhattan is like living inside a gigantic Twitter stream. What you get to know about people you don’t know simply by accidental adjacency is astonishing.
Susan Orlean travels to Morocco to find out about donkeys for Smithsonian magazine.
The medina in Fez may well be the largest urbanized area in the world impassable to cars and trucks, where anything that a human being can’t carry or push in a handcart is conveyed by a donkey, a horse or a mule. If you need lumber and rebar to add a new room to your house in the medina, a donkey will carry it in for you. If you have a heart attack while building the new room on your house, a donkey might well serve as your ambulance and carry you out. If you realize your new room didn’t solve the overcrowding in your house and you decide to move to a bigger house, donkeys will carry your belongings and furniture from your old house to your new one. Your garbage is picked up by donkeys; your food supplies are delivered to the medina’s stores and restaurants by mule; when you decide to decamp from the tangle of the medina, donkeys might carry your luggage out or carry it back in when you decide to return. In Fez, it has always been thus, and so it will always be. No car is small enough or nimble enough to squeeze through the medina’s byways; most motorbikes cannot make it up the steep, slippery alleys. The medina is now a World Heritage site. Its roads can never be widened, and they will never be changed; the donkeys might carry in computers and flat-screen televisions and satellite dishes and video equipment, but they will never be replaced.
This is probably the most interesting thing you’ll ever read about donkeys.
Robert Birnbaum interview with Susan Orlean. Here’s his first interview with her from 2001.
Update: I linked to this without reading it first, something I *never* do, but now that I’ve read it, there’s really some great stuff in there about the writing process, magazines (specifically The New Yorker), and editing. And great quotes like “I’d rather work for Drunken Boat than for Time magazine, to be honest with you”. Ouch for Time magazine.