Should you tell “quirky” stories?

Some months back I sent an email about a memory from my teenage years:

Listening to old-time radio broadcaster Paul Harvey spin masterful, suspense-filled stories on a battery-powered boombox while massacring knee-high weeds in a 12,000-square foot garden, sweat pouring off my face.

Pretty specific, no?

Don’t you risk alienating most of your readers when you tell such a quirky, idiosyncratic story like this?

I’m sure the majority of my subscribers never heard of Paul Harvey, didn’t grow up in a decommissioned farm house, never had the experience of hacking through a jungle of weeds in the August humidity.

Why tell such a narrowly focused story?

Well, after I sent the email I got this from a reader named Randy:

Hi Josh –

Your email today really struck a chord.

I grew up, with my two brothers, on a farm in the boonies.

We had over 500 acres – and lived in a 100+ year old farmhouse (in fact, the fact was built exactly – to the month – 100 years before I was born).

And we had a large garden.

AND we listened to Paul Harvey. I loved hearing his stories on the radio, and the surprise ending when we found out who he was talking about.

And of course – like you – I ended up wrestling when I was in school.

The Paul Harvey stories are a great lesson in storytelling – I’m so glad you took me back to those days, in your email today.

When you tell a story that’s very narrow and quirky like this, it won’t connect with everyone.

And that’s OK. Make it colorful and entertaining and they’ll enjoy it anyway.

There will be a handful of people like Randy who DO connect with some aspect of your story—and when that happens you forge a deep psychic bond.