The Editorial Freelancers Association has a very small staff of just three cool cats, er, paid employees: Vina Orden, Events and Communications Coordinator, Christina Shideler, Membership and Programs Coordinator, and Susannah Driver-Barstow, General Manager. We’re going to get to know them a tiny bit better, by looking at how they’ve personalized their office space.


This is Christina Shideler’s corner. On behalf of all New Yorkers, let me just point out that hand sanitizer is worth its weight in gold if you take the subway to work. But I’ll let Christina tell you in her own words about the rest of the collection. “The mug is purchased from the heavy metal bar next door to my apartment at their occasional art market, and showcases my love of all things creepy. The vintage postcard reminds me of my dog, who is portrayed in the photobooth strip above along with my husband, Kellen.” In case you’re wondering…I know you are!… the dog’s name is Mammoth (though he is quite small).

rm_christina-planterHere’s something you don’t see every day…a pheasant planter? Christina picked this up at a thrift store in Texas on a visit home.

Christina is a poet, with an MFA from The New School. She runs her own literary magazine, Hysterical, and she’s the Poetry Editor for The Seventh Wave. If you’ve pegged her as a quirky, creative, indie rock kind of person, you’re right…but not when she’s in the office. There, it’s Mariah Carey all the way, baby…unless she’s stuffing envelopes, in which case she might switch to a podcast. Faves are Heavyweight, Ear Hustle, 99% Invisible, and Comedy Bang Bang. (PS: Outside of the office, you might find Christina doing karaoke. She’s quite good at it, especially Whitney Houston and Heart!)

These artworks hang on the wall behind Christina. She purchased them from comic arts show in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn.

rm_vina-deskNow let’s take a look at Vina’s corner. OK, whoa, Vina uses an analog planner! That’s why the multicolored pen is a must. Her system requires a different colored ink for tasks associated with work, home, volunteering, and writing.

Note that Vina’s afternoon caffeine sits regally atop a Magritte coaster! This, she explains, “serves as a reminder about how ‘reality is constructed’—that words provide context for what we see and images (and all their associations) can alter the meaning of our words.”

Vina is not only a writer, she’s also an artist. Her painting of the perfectly named Bartleby seems especially appropriate for the EFA as his owner asked that she paint the dog in his natural habitat—a Victorian library!

Vina Orden pet portrait
Last but not least, let’s take a quick peek at Susannah’s space. No music or podcasts here. Susannah enjoys the sounds of crosstown traffic wafting up from 23rd Street as she works at her sit/stand desk—or as she calls it, “the executive gym.” LOL!


I’ve been thinking of getting one of these myself, so I was glad to hear what Susannah thinks of hers. “Being able to change position during hours at the computer has helped enormously with my (former) back pain. It also helps with maintaining energy throughout the day and providing slight but useful changes of perspective on what I’m reading onscreen.”

Okay then, I’m sold!

Just to give you a bit more “office color,” here’s a little bit about the building itself, Masonic Hall. It’s located in the Flatiron District of New York City (near the famous triangular Flatiron Building). Tenants, like the EFA, enter on 23rd Street, while the Masons have their own beautiful lobby on 24th Street, on the other side of the building.


Just like our office staff, the Masons have personalized their space. The lobby features a display case with fascinating Masonic memorabilia, and there’s much more on display inside the building itself.


You can learn more about the Masonic Hall at

So, that’s it for this post. I hope you’ve gotten a feel for the EFA office and our wonderful staff. Members are always welcome so please stop by next time you’re in the ’hood!

Ruth Mullen
Member at Large, EFA Board of Governors
Coordinator, NYC Metro Chapter

Editor’s note: Life is change, and soon the EFA’s 26-year residence at 71 W. 23rd Street will come to an end. We’ll be moving by the end of June. Stay tuned for more information. We do expect to have the Annual Meeting one last time in our current location.