Here’s a short piece I did for City Journal on the admirable Mark Steyn:
Back in the nineties, when I was living in London, I stumbled on a minor columnist of major brilliance. Now and again, I’d find him in some newspaper, writing about a television show I’d never seen or a second-rate play I never planned to see, and I’d remark to my wife how strange it was that a writer of such enormous talent should be wasting his time tossing off articles about such trivia.
One day, walking through South Kensington, I saw him on the street; I recognized him from his byline photo. I wanted to introduce myself and say something on the order of, “Look, I don’t know much, but I know a fine mind and terrific prose when I see them, and by gumbo, lad, you should lay off this irrelevant cultural fluff and write about something that matters!” Unfortunately, I have struggled with shyness all my life, and the shyness nearly always wins. I let him pass, and tragically, without my encouragement, Mark Steyn’s career vanished without a trace.
No, of course I’m joking…
Read the rest here.