“Hi Flicksters! I’m thrilled to introduce to you my friend Helen Hunt. We’re welcoming her as April’s guest editor on What The Flicka, and she’s going to be taking over Felicitations today to kick things off. Take it away, Helen!”  

-Felicity

I’m so excited to have the opportunity to join What The Flicka as guest editor for the month of April. I’m choosing a theme to start a discussion that I’m very eager to be a part of. The theme we’ll be following for the month is “Letting Go.”

When I was pregnant with my daughter I went on a Hawaiian vacation. It was on a beach there that I spotted a mother surfing. She got out of the water, put her surfboard down, took a bottle of water and poured it on her breast and started nursing. I thought, ‘I want to be her.’ That’s when I decided to learn to surf and ultimately where the inspiration for my new film RIDE came from. I play an editor at New Yorker Magazine who follows her son to Los Angeles after he drops out of college to surf. With the intention of teaching him a lesson, she ends up on a path of self-discovery that has all to do with letting go.

My daughter is almost eleven now. Balancing on the tightrope of when to hold on and when to let go is an art I master then lose then master then lose. There’s a lot in this movie that’s me.

I’m looking forward to hearing stories from other women about the art of letting go.

You can find our posts here.

RIDE is in theaters and on demand May 1, 2015. Click here to see where RIDE is playing near you, or preorder on iTunes here.

I ran into a friend and her 3-year-old daughter the other day, “Hi Bella,“ I said to the little girl. She turned her back to me hoping I would go away.

a historical reenactment

“How are you?” I continued. Since I didn’t disappear she decided she had to. So she turned back around, put both hands in front of her face, and BOOM she was invisible. She stood like that, stock still, the whole time I talked to her mother. That is what’s cool about being 3.

Anything is possible.

When I was 3 I thought I was an angel, until I told my older sister who said, “That’s so stupid. You’re not an angel: you’re a brat. AND you were born naked, so the doctor saw your butt, but I was born with diapers on.” Not sure how those two pieces of information came together… but to this day diapers and angels are linked in my mind.

But despite older sisters and hard reality, when you’re three almost anything is possible. You can be magical, fairies are real and so are monsters. You can become Spiderman or Superwoman in one breath. Three year olds dream big because they don’t know any better; limitations haven’t shrunk their world.

So, here at WTF, what do we want to be when we grow up? And when I say, “grow up” I mean grow up to be 4 years old. Because every 3 year old knows a FOUR year old is a BIG KID.

I keep thinking when WTF grows up it will be Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP. Because GOOP seems like the perfect website… so cool, so rich, so “In The Know.” GOOP seems like the cool 1st grader to my 3 year old WTF.

That’s just website-envy (which Freud wrote about), but dreaming big shouldn’t be about envy, it should be about possibilities.

My 3 Dreaming Big ideas for WTF:

1. That the WTF readership decides to do 3 things that scare us – and then we write about it. Or we take more naps – equally worthwhile.

2. I would love to make an annual WTF brunch and maybe even someday make it a destination brunch, like “Brunch in Hawaii for WTF!”. Wouldn’t that be cool!?

3. I want to quadruple our readership in the next year and, to that end, start categories like:

SAVE THE PLANET so people can share what they are doing personally and we can learn what is being done globally to save the planet.

MONEY AND POWER so we can be in charge of our finances and become smart investors.

POLITICAL SAVVY so we can weigh in on non-partisan issues like equal pay and childcare, and talk about what candidates and organizations support those issues. (Hmm do those sound boring? Would funny dog videos be a better idea?)

My 3 Dreaming Big ideas for myself are:

1. I want to be a television producer…okay, a successful television producer.

2. I want to keep the lines of communication open and safe with my two teenage daughters.

3. I want to be the kind of person who meditates and does yoga daily. Scratch that – I want to be the kind of person who LIKES to meditate and do yoga daily.

An actual awkward moment.
An actual awkward moment.

3B. (this writer gets an extra) Finally, when social anxiety is too much to bear – I would like to be able to cover my face with my hands and magically disappear.

Since you are a part of WTF and now are 3 years old (and isn’t it great to be three years old at something?), what 3 things do you want to dream big about in the next year? Send them on – we want to know.

Now go eat some birthday cake, and try and convince someone you are an angel. Because you kinda are.

Love,

Flicka

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I thought I would dive into the delicious topic of The Kiss.

In line with the old theater adage, “There are no small parts only small actors,” can one say, “There are no bad kisses only bad kissers?” No. I learned this after the worst kiss of my life (given by a writer, I felt like his tongue was playing Whack-A-Mole with my mouth). I am afraid the truth is there ARE bad kisses AND bad kissers.

But, as we all know, a GREAT kiss can literally make you weak at the knees, and a great KISSER can have you on your back counting ceiling tiles before you know it.

I remember learning to “Boy Kiss” in 6th grade. I asked Wendy Steinberg, who was foreign (she came from Los Angeles), how to do it. She made me practice on my hand – so that fist I used to draw funny faces on and move my thumb knuckle to talk, you know, like this…

Kissing Instructor

… became my imaginary boyfriend. After an appropriate amount of time I even used tongue.

It was kind of genius, and to this day I am thankful to Wendy.

But when I actually kissed a boy (while watching Burt Reynolds in The Longest Yard), I realized not everyone had studied with Wendy. He forgot he HAD a tongue …and lips. We scraped teeth until the inmates won.

I also remember the first time I had an “Oh my God, take-me-to-bed-or-leave-me-forever” kiss. I was 17. He was a cowboy. I thought; “Oh, NOW I know what all the commotion is about.”

And no wonder! There is so much stuff happening when we kiss. Almost a third of all cranial nerves that effect brain function are in the lips. And that combined with the lips being packed with more sensory neurons than any other region in the body means that as we kiss a smorgasbord of messages, sensations, emotions and physical “whoojy!” are being rocketed to the brain.

Truthfully, I am not sure I am a great kisser myself. Based on my thin “white girls lips” which goes along with my thin “white girl hair” – I would have to say, no.

But I do love to kiss.

Kisses christen significant moments and are lovely bon mots capping the ordinary.

I kissed my Mother’s dead cheek before the undertaker took the body away. It was so soft and so cold and the delicate hairs tickled my lips.
I kissed a girlfriend in high school on a drunken night and it felt like kissing myself.
I have kissed actresses on several occasions. I can see why men like it.
I kiss my daughters’ sweet necks when I wake them up in the morning.
I kiss my husbands hands.

And a Kiss can do a lot of things besides connect.

It can threaten, “Kiss Off,”
It can insult, “Kiss My Ass,”
It can define, “Kiss Ass,”
It can apologize, “Kiss and Make Up,”
It can begin, “Kiss of Life,”
It can end, “Kiss of Death.”

What The Flicka But here’s what I really love -the sound. Have you ever tried to kiss without making the sound of a kiss at the very end? Just take a second and try it – if no one is handy may I suggest you kiss that part of your fist that you used to draw pictures on?

It’s not a kiss without the sound, right? It’s just sticking your lips to someone else’s body. Why do we need the sound?

Drawing from ancient Sanskrit writings (which is the first time the concept of “The Kiss” is found), anthropologists suggest the idea of “exchanging breath” led to locking lips. Why would you “exchange breath” if not to drink in the other person’s essence? Maybe that little “kiss” sound and the pull of air exists because we are inhaling a little bit of the other person’s essence – a little bit of their goodness?

And to make that “kiss” sound we need lips. Desmond Morris in the The Naked Ape basically says lips are a billboard, advertising our sexuality. All primates have lips, but not turned a little inside out like ours. Human lips are puffy, rosy, and moist; they’re just basically screaming, “What do you need? An invitation?? TAKE ME!” At least those are my cliff notes of his zoological study of the human animal. I mean lips are made from the same skin as our nipples and our vaginas. I might have heard that from Wendy Steinberg, so I am not sure it’s true.

Happy February! Let’s use our multisensory lips for good this month and not evil. On the 14th let’s all find someone we love or someone who just needs a big K.I.S.S. – Kiss Including Sweet Sound.

Tell me your best kisses and your worst. Don’t worry, here at WTF, we don’t kiss and tell.

Love,
Flicka

Last week I wrote 2014 on a check and started getting nostalgic, “Oh, 2014 is ending, I will never write that number again; I will never get that year  back … etc.”  It’s a dance I always do, here’s why:

I hate change. I react to change the same way I react to sulfa drugs – I break out in a rash and take to my bed. For example, ten years ago my husband built our family a beautiful new house; on the day we left our old house (which was tiny, heated mostly by our oven and had a ghost), I was totally nauseous and cried in the car the whole way to the new house. When my daughters started preschool, I cried with nostalgia. When my daughters left preschool, I cried with nostalgia.

And people totally feed into my neurosis when they say shit like, “Oh your daughters are so lovely, enjoy it while you can, it goes by so quickly!” I KNOW THAT, YOU WITCH! I DON’T NEED HELP REGRETTING THAT TIME IS PASSING AND EVERYTHING WILL CHANGE!!

Ages ago, I read Care of the Soul by Thomas Moore (okay, full disclosure – I skimmed the book, and kept a few snippets to pull out when I needed to seem deep… like now). Moore says, “The soul always longs for what it used to have.” Or something like that, as I said – I skimmed it.

But that is sure true for me. My soul always looks back with longing and even sadness.

And my brain always looks forward with fear.  So there I am sandwiched between melancholy and fear. I’m a fun date.

But getting back to that check I was writing, I discovered a sentence that has been transforming my fear AND appears to unhook my caboose of nostalgic longing. It also seems a perfect mantra for the New Year. I got it, as I get most things of import, from my sisters.

In November, I was leaving Austin, Texas after working there for 4 months.  I was packing my suitcase saying goodbye to the magical little house I rented (see my November blog) – and was saying things to myself like, “I will never have this time again, I will never live in this house again, I will never sit on this porch and drink coffee again, etc.”

And suddenly I remembered a sentence my sister, Jessie, said to me, “With all the little and big changes throughout our day and lives, all the “little deaths” as it were. Look forward to them with delight.”

Yes, I thought, “look forward with delight.”  Packing up the Austin house suddenly wasn’t an experience in loss – it was just packing.

My sister took this idea of, “looking forward with delight” from a book we read together called Preparing to Die. (Okay, full disclosure, I own the book but my sister actually read it … and gave me the cliff notes.) Jessie came to visit me in Austin and we sat on my screened-in porch and had long discussions on certain chapters and paragraphs. Seems morbid? Possibly, but this is because I am so fucking scared of death that my only choice is to run toward it. I used the same technique confronting my fear of dinner parties. They terrified me – so I decided to have them ALL THE TIME.  It worked.

Now I don’t have to have them anymore.

The actual quote from the book is, “Look forward to death with sheer delight.” Well, that is a tall order and light years away from my reach.

BUT! I can look forward with delight at the year to come. I can look forward with delight at what might happen this month, this week, and this day.

I’ve heard that the best way to change a habit is to replace it with another habit.

So instead of my usual perverted mantra, “Fear and worry take a lot of energy so get started early.” I say to myself, “Look forward with delight.”

And it’s not logical, it’s not like I weigh the pros and cons, “Oh, 2015 will be a better year! The number 5 is so much easier to write than the number 4, blah, blah, blah.” It’s beyond reason. It’s an orientation.

So I am going to look forward to 2015 with delight. I hope you are too. I mean what’s the worst that can happen? … Oh crap, I did it again, didn’t I?

Love,

Flicka