Full disclosure: I sort of “know” Fenton Johnson. I grew up in Bardstown, the town down the road from New Haven, where Fenton grew up. We knew some of the same people. I knew his sister, I dated his cousin, a cousin of his cousin was one of my best high school friends. I don’t have any distinct memory of Fenton (he was 3 years younger than me), rather an awareness of him; I knew he was around. And who forgets a name like “Fenton”?
By the 1990s I was an avid reader of all things Merton and dipped into the more serious magazines. I noticed an article by Fenton Johnson and immediately knew it was Fenton. He was a good writer. I became a follower / reader. Not exactly a “fan”, but when I came across something he had written, I read it.