I've never been a fan of the term "mentor". It is too laden with connotations. Also? It sounds wanky.
However, this morning I realised that I do sort of have one. A 'writing role model', I guess you could say... Her determined face was staring back at me from the front page of the local paper, as I drank my coffee, and it seemed to be saying "Kate, stop being a dickhead".
This woman always was the sort of person who would call a spade a c*nt. The first time I met her, working for a local magazine, she told me in no uncertain terms that I was sitting in her chair. I have respected her candour and integrity ever since. Coming a close second is her ability to work a swear word into almost any situation.
She made me realise that it takes more than good writing to be a good writer. You also sort of need to have balls. People are going to try to mess with your shit. Of those people, very few will actually be qualified to do so. She taught me that you need to speak up and be prepared to back-up what you're saying or you'll be bending over for everyone. Essentially, people will either see you as a bitch or a whore.
Yes, it's pretty black and white. And, I am really more of a "grey area" person, but thinking about all the things she taught me is helping me to make decisions, almost 4 years later. And now I am going to email her and thank her.