It’s important to have people to look up to at the beginning of your career. You have to find people who have found their own way of saying the things that you yourself want to say. It never comes easy, and I believe now that it may even get harder the older you get and the more you write. The apprentice approaches the pinnacle slowly, with much stumbling and cursing, constantly going down one-way streets and taking off on tangents that go nowhere. The incredible amount of things that have to be written and then thrown away is probably what daunts a lot of young writers.
From "Harry Crews: Mentor and Friend," Billy Ray's Farm: Essays from a Place Called Tula, Touchstone-Simon & Schuster, 2001
O for a muse of fire,