No, of course, I didn't send my mentor the open letter posted here a couple days ago. Though, I suppose I could have.
But after the treatment from my former department chair, I did feel it necessary to touch base with my mentor. Yesterday morning, I forwarded him the email from the chair, and added some commentary and questions that were intended to provoke feedback. He responded quite promptly by email that perhaps we should talk on the phone. So we did, for nearly an hour.
It was quite productive and encouraging. My conversations with the mentor tend to be a series of loosely-connected tangents (I think it reflects both our personalities), so I always take notes, to make sure I've got some pithy bits to reflect more on. I don't think I'll blog too extensively about it now, because there's a lot there. Expect more commentary in the coming days.
He made it clear that he's committed to my success, and is available to me as much as I need him. The one thing that was absent from his comments, that I kept expecting, was any indication that I should hang it up, that I should reconsider my career goals, that I need to lower my expectations. Ultimately, those decisions are mine alone. But, his remarks were encouraging in that he sees my goals as realistic. Like I've said before, a few words is sometimes all it takes.