How junk mail stole my heart
A strait-laced copywriter throws inhibition –and sentence structure – to the winds.
Tom has a problem.
He's long worked in the nonprofit world, writing grant proposals, brochures, annual reports, and even the mysterious "collateral." Tom now works at a worthy nonprofit.
It's a good organization doing good work. There's no reason to stray.
But Tom did.
Like most affairs, it began on craigslist. The ad posting for Copywriter – Direct Response seemed so ... fresh. Tom thought he'd check it out. He was just looking, after all. Nothing wrong with that. Nothing at all – .
Tom just flirted at first, coyly replying to the marketing agency and sending a résumé. Who reads those things, anyway? But then they asked for additional writing samples. It was flattery to which the straitlaced Tom was unaccustomed.
It was also a slippery slope.
The agency agreed to try Tom out, and that's when he saw her in all her beauty: Direct Mail. He naively agreed to write a renewal letter – asking previous donors to give again. Simplicity itself. Tom promised himself he wasn't going to get emotionally involved. It meant nothing – just a random freelance assignment.
But then, in his innocence, Tom thought he'd put in the time and write a really elegant letter, free of all that urgent textual frippery.
It was a rookie mistake. Direct Mail would have none of it.
Tom revised and revised and quickly fell headlong into a dizzying world of short paragraphs, punchy phrases, emphatic statements set off in dashes —em dashes!— and raw adrenaline. Oh, the things she taught him.
Tom had entered a bold and often italicized world where sentences frequently began with names. Or conjunctions.
Sometimes even random adverbs.