From Graham Greene's Ways of Escape --
"With a novel, which takes perhaps years to write, the author is not the same man at the end of the book as he was at the beginning. It is not only that his characters have developed -- he has developed with them, and this nearly always gives a sense of roughness to the work: a novel can seldom have the sense of perfection which you find in Chekhov's story, 'The Lady with the Dog.' It is the consciousness of that failure which makes the revision of the novel seem endless -- the author is trying in vain to adapt the story to his changed personality -- as though it were something he had begun in childhood and is finishing now in old age. There are moments of despair when he begins the fifth revision of Part One, and he sees the multitude of the new corrections. How can he help feeling, 'This will never end, I shall never again be the same man I was when I wrote this months and months ago.' No wonder that under these conditions a novelist often makes a bad husband or an unstable lover. There is something in his character of the actor who continues to play Othello when he is off the stage, but he is an actor who has lived far too many parts during far too many long runs. He is encrusted with characters. A black taxi-driver in the Caribbean once told me of a body which he had seen lifted from the sea. He said, 'You couldn't tell it was a man's body because of all the lampreys that came up with it.' A horrible image, but it is one which suits the novelist well."
Horrible indeed: a lamprey resembles a phallus with teeth. Here is some further encouraging marine biological imagery, from Lorrie Moore's story "How to Become a Writer."
"Thank god you are taking other courses. You can find sanctuary in nineteenth-century ontological snags and invetebrate courting rituals. Certain globular mollusks have what is called 'Sex by the Arm.' The male octopus, for instance, loses the end of one arm when placing it inside the female body during intercourse. Marine biologists call it 'Seven Heaven.' Be glad you know these things. Be glad you are not just a writer. Apply to law school."