So, what to say... I'll start simple. I learned how to write from David Foster Wallace. He called me Mr. Swaim and I called him Dave. He'd return my stories covered in comments from his red pen. I'd tell him what I was trying to achieve and he would tell me how I failed. But, he never told me to stop.
In fact, he told me I had the potential to be a commercial fiction writer. I told him that while he meant it as an insult, I took it as a compliment.
Here's the funny thing about Dave, though. I'm not sure if he meant it as an insult. One thing he liked, he said, was to read and suddenly fall into the chair, forget he was reading a story and just BE in the story.
He told me I was doing that in my stories.
I miss him.