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  • Manju Howard

The Other Mentor Texts

Updated: Aug 29, 2019

On a recent family trip to Boston, I took pictures and collected tickets, brochures and maps. It was like gathering puzzle pieces for future writing projects. But I didn’t journal daily events to fill in the gaps. Then a few weeks flew by before I tried to untangle cool trip moments from my memory.

It was like writing a Mad Libs. How could I jog my memory for missing details?


Last week, I started reading BREAKOUT by Kate Messner. The title refers to two inmates who break out of the town's maximum-security prison and panic the community. The story unfolds through letters, poems, text messages, news stories, and comics written by middle schoolers in Wolf Creek.
Thank you, Kate! There was my answer – The other mentor texts!
I had texted family and writing friends during our trip. Instead of capturing moments in a writer’s journal, I had painted a picture of our adventures one text at a time.

Tasty moment

  • “Salem's Melt Ice Cream has the best milkshakes! My Atomic Coffee shake was glacier thick, not syrupy sweet.


Quiet moment

  • Along the Boston Freedom Trail, we wandered around Granary Burying Ground. Paul Revere is buried in one corner.

  • Two headstones are slanted to form a stone tent. Beneath the stones with unreadable names and dates, two baby bunnies cuddled. Life after death.

Whale Moments

  • Going whale watching this afternoon

  • Met Shuffleboard the humpback whale! She rolled on her side and waved.

  • A baby whale performed tail lobs, tail throws and flipper slaps at the surface.

  • A 7/8yo just kissed the land three times after we docked. Agreed!

  • “The sea was angry my friends, like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli!”


I’ve dusted off one of my precious blank writing journals to scribble in at home.

Thanks to Linda Urban’s Mini-Lesson on Kate Messner’s blog.

Although, texting will continue to be my writing tool on trips.


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