Sometimes you need a little encouragement. A pat on the back and an 'I love you, you're brilliant.' Come on, who doesn't like an 'I love you, you're brilliant?' But other times, it's not that form of encouragement you need. It's knowing that others have succeeded before you, and it is possible. Because, at heart, we're all 10-year-olds who need inspirational classroom posters read aloud to them from time to time. Anything is Possible. You Can Do it. And let's throw in an 'I Love You, You're Brilliant.' Because you are, and the world (and possibly The New Yorker) will someday know it.
And so. A little inspirational love magic is clipped from an interview and pasted below for you dearies. Brought to you from Susan Orlean, a gem of a chick we've hearted since we were sporting braces. Which unfortunately wasn't that long ago. Pause. Sigh.
Ahem. We knew Susan was our literary female rockstar of a role model since the day we read "The American Man, Age 10." She went on to Orchid Thief/Adaptation/Meryl Streep semi-fame, but to us she'll always be our divine Miss Orlean, Talk of the Townie barfly. Pick her up. Let her woo you with her dreamy perspective and Nora Ephron-toting humor. She'll surely win you over and maybe invite you over for tea to discuss the Maui girls' divine love of their hair. Or something.
And you knew at that point what you wanted to do?
Susan: Well, I had read enough of The New Yorker to think, "This is what I want to do." But I had no clue about how you went about achieving it. I remember even mentioning it to a few of my friends who worked a lot for the Michigan daily and who I think just thought, "What? How would you do that?" And then, even more than now, The New Yorker was the Kremlin. You didn't even know who worked there, or who wrote the stories, or anything.
How did you go about actually getting to write for The New Yorker?
S to the O: I had heard through a roundabout conversation that The New Yorker might be looking for new "Talk of the Town" writers, and I just picked up the phone and called. I got an editor on the line who gruffly agreed to let me drop off my clips, which I did the next day. I didn't know what to expect, but to my great surprise I got a call from this same editor inviting me to come down to the office and talk further. He liked my ideas and let me take a crack at a "Talk" piece -- an idea of mine about how Benetton teaches its employees to fold sweaters -- which I did immediately, and it ran the following week. I started writing "Talk" pieces regularly from that point on.