I've never had any mentor, anybody I could turn to for life/career advice.
When I got to UT in '83 at age 18, I was a lost kid. Nobody helped me. Several professors/grad students offered me an "A" in their classes if I would "have coffee with them" regularly. I kid thee not. Three times I was overtly offered this: specifically, an "A" if I'd see the professor/grad student socially. I was shocked, I didn't think the professors/grad students were attractive, and I said "no" each time.
Was THAT bullshit my chance at having a mentor?
I never had a professor take an interest in me. I loved the 3 poetry classes that I took with David Wevill, and I know that my poetry was good... But I don't think Wevill particularly liked me, and, come to think of it, I don't think he helped anyone else, even his favorites, get anything published. Why not, Wevill? You lazy fuck. Too much trouble?
I do dislike Wevill for his laziness. After his own personal success in the early '60s, the man gave up. Got his tenure, and then promptly gave up, never helping anyone else, even though that minor effort wouldn't have hurt him a bit. I have very little respect for him, though I did think he was a good teacher.
As I write this, at age 44, I'm melancholy: Wishing I'd had a mom or dad that guided me emotionally; wishing that when I'd gotten to college I'd had someone to guide me intellectually. I've had to raise myself and educate myself, and I think I've been sloppy and haphazard about it.