Too Lovely to Be Spoiled:
Advanced Composition Aesthetics and the Writer's Colony
Written by Elizabeth Howell Brunner at Cal Poly, 1996, for English 505: Composition Theory, taught by Professor David Kann.  Posted online August 1999. 
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I worked as a grantwriter in Los Angeles for almost a decade. Writing professionally, under deadlines and on massive documents, taught me to blend emotional language and meaning-dense text. In the highlight of my career, the small social service agency that I worked for obtained a multi-million dollar grant despite competition from powerhouse institutions like the Neuropsychiatric Institute at UCLA. I've often associated that victory to a single paragraph, at the bottom of a cover letter, attached to a 117 page proposal. In the tightknit society of Southern California grantwriters, this paragraph ­ the "passion paragraph" ­ became a rather famous example:
Our small administrative staff worked well past midnight all week finishing this document. The technical attachments and the budget challenged us ­ but the philosophy and commitment integral to the Integrated Services project are identical to the values held most dear by all of us at Step Up. Our passion to assist each mentally ill participant reach their highest potential is embodied throughout. Passion motivated the families who created the drop-in center in 1984 and passion motivates our submission of this proposal today. 
The repeated references to passion encapsulated the difference between our agency and the bureaucratic giants that usually won the larger awards. I gambled that language which might be viewed as inappropriate for a County Department of Mental Health application would carry an undeniable and effective emotional punch. 
At many levels, grantwriting provides the best possible training in rhetoric and composition ­ because each word matters. Within rigid space constraints, language must convince donors to fund vital social services. And when the writing succeeds, tangible rewards include buildings and programs and survival for people in need. My passion ­ to continue using the word now almost too common in my vocabulary ­ my love for the written word revolves around emotional content, poetic diction, creative form, and sheer bravura. How natural then that I've chosen to focus on techniques for teaching advanced, sophisticated, and transformative composition. 
Author: Elizabeth Howell Brunner