January 20, 2023
“I’m the mentee you can’t get away from.”
“I don’t want to get away from you. We’re happily stuck together forever.”
Mentor alum and Girls Write Now Director of Curriculum Erica Silberman and Mentee Alum Samantha White have an ease around one another and an infectious sense of humor. Having worked together for 15 years, they have developed a rapport that has allowed them to nurture and support one another in all aspects of their lives, from writing tips to professional decisions to dim sum recommendations.
Read on for a snapshot of their inspiring mentorship.
Samantha: We talk all the time. I also check in when I have big life decisions to make—work, money, love. I run all my big decisions past Erica. When we were first paired, there was a focus on my writing and I was discovering who I was, as a person and a writer. Our conversations have evolved over the years. They’re pretty unedited now.
We always ask ourselves, “Are we going to go out for dim sum and talk or are we going to write?” but we both know the answer. It’s a ritual we practice.
And then there’s the dim sum.
Erica: Deluxe Green Bo on Bayard Street is our place. I now text Samantha to let her know that I’ve started writing and if she wants to, she can join me from where she is, since we prefer talking when we get together and writing when we’re apart.
We’ve written in response to each other’s writing before, but now we want to write something together. One of my writing projects is a heist screenplay and I was struggling with a section in it. Samantha and I were talking as we both were making our way home from work—she in her car, me walking from the subway—and she told me to tell her the story. I did and she asked the most useful questions—what’s this character’s endgame? Is she playing a long game? Is she hiding something? Whose side is she on? It was so helpful.
I love, love, love Samantha’s brain. When she tells me about a game (she’s a big gamer), especially one she doesn’t like, she can still respect the thought that went into it and how other people would enjoy it.
Samantha is so subtle, that I don’t even realize I’m giving her “life-altering advice” as she calls it—it’s sort of just in the mix of “What are you making for dinner?” and “Should I take this job?” When we were first paired together, I felt like I had to have all the answers. We were learning and growing side by side, and in retrospect, there was no need for me to feel like I had to have all the answers and my life needed to be perfect. We were both a work in progress…we still are.
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