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P.S. What I Didn’t Say: An Iterview with Megan McMorris

Published: October 11, 2009 | Last Updated: March 27, 2024 By | Reply Continue Reading
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Megan McMorris is a Portland-based freelance writer who is the editor of a new anthology, P.S. What I Didn’t Say: Unsent Letters to Our Female Friends (Seal Press). I had the opportunity to read a review copy of this clever book, which I enjoyed immensely. Each of its chapters takes the form of a letter to a friend, contributed by a talented group of female writers. I was delighted to pose some questions to Megan McMorris about her own friendships and to learn more about the back story of the book.

Megan, what inspired you to put this book together?

Megan McMorris: The book came together from a combination of things that were going on in my life. I had a friendship fallout with someone I felt was constantly belittling me in a subtle way (you know what I mean, right? It would definitely fit into the category of “toxic friendships” that you talk about in YOUR book!) and it made me think about why women put up with so much from their friends sometimes-and it made me really treasure those who I know are my true friends. So I thought, what a great idea to have a book about female friendships, but in a letter format. Kinda that “letter you always wanted to send” to your friend (or frenemy) that you’ve had percolating in your mind down to the last sentence but have never actually hit the “send” button (or sealed the envelope) on!

What are your thoughts about why women hold back in expressing their real feelings about their friends?

That’s an interesting question. I notice that with my guy friends, they will say things to each other that women would NEVER say to each other. (Or, if they do, it causes a rift that can sometimes never be repaired.) That’s why I enjoy having guy friends too-for example, my friend Pete used to have these incredibly (in my mind) dorky glasses and I was just about to suggest to the guy that we go eyeglass shopping together (he literally got Lasics not one week after I was about to suggest it so the point was moot, but I still tell him “thank God you got rid of those things, dude!”) Would I ever suggest that to a female friend? Probably not, because I wouldn’t want to hurt her feelings (or have her resent me). That said, I do try to be as honest as I can with my female friends, but there’s just a little more subtle nature to it. So to answer your question, I just think in general (obviously I’m grossly generalizing) guys are used to being more direct and women can tiptoe around issues. But heck, I’m not a professional like you are, I would love to hear YOUR take on just this topic! ☺

When you solicited letters from writers, what was the response like?

The response was really illuminating, actually! I had so many of the writers tell me “Oh my God, I’ve always wanted to tell my friend X” and it’s like they’d always carried around this “unsent letter” (or e-mail) in their head. It was surprising to me, and it really created a community feel between myself and the 35 contributors. I heard from a lot of contributors that it was therapeutic to get it down in writing too, and some have even sent their letter to the friend. (Stay tuned for podcasts on my website where I’ll be interviewing contributors about their letters!)

Why did you select the story about Diane as your contribution to the book—someone with whom you never became BFFs?

You know, when I first read that question, I was thinking “But wait, Diane IS one my best friends!” But no, you’re right, in fact in my childhood, Andy was my twin-in-crime (we looked a lot alike, and we’d even plan out what we’d wear sometimes to Junior High, Esprit sweatshirts and Calvin Klein jeans down to our topsider shoes, ha ha!). Diane was always one of the group, but had another “best friend”. And while I’m still very much just as close with Andy (and our other friend from growing up, Heather), there was something about Diane that made for such an interesting story, because it’s a story about our friendship growing over time-literally from kindergarten through nearing 40, I feel closer to her now than I ever have. I could have filled a book with the fantastic friendships I have (including Andy, Heather and Anne Marie my best bud from college) but I just thought Diane and my story made for a more interesting letter for the purposes of this book.

In editing the book, what did you learn about female friendships?

That I’m not alone-I felt like I could relate with nearly each letter in some way. I’ve had the gamut of tried-and-true friendships that have spanned over 30 years, to situational friends who fade over time, to unfortunately those who really aren’t looking out for your best interests (those are the sneaky ones, which your book will really help readers decipher and deal with!).

Megan McMorris is also the editor of Cat Women: Female Writers on Our Feline Friends and Woman’s Best Friend: Women Writers on the Dogs in Our Lives (both books also published by Seal Press). She’s written for magazines such as Woman’s Day, Real Simple, Every Day With Rachael Ray, SELF, Parents, and many others.

 

Friendship by the Book is a series of occasional posts on this blog focusing on friendship-related books.

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Category: KEEPING FRIENDS, Toxic friends

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