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How junk mail stole my heart

A strait-laced copywriter throws inhibition –and sentence structure – to the winds.

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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 – seemed so ... fresh. Tom thought he'd check it out. He was just , 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 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 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 —— and raw adrenaline. Oh, the things she taught him.


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