"Money was maliciously introduced in ancient times as a tool of enslavement" -
Michael Tellinger

"The present belongs to the future and future generations, and all old laws, religious and other, should be abrogated immediately. Free us!" - Vinay Gupta on Twitter

"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete." - R. Buckminster Fuller

"You find the strangest ways to be positive!" - Diane Duane, Wizards Abroad

Friday, June 1, 2012

Dot: An Ordinary Life, an Extraordinary Person (film)

For one of our neighborhood documentary screenings this month, we'll be seeing a film about an Ashland resident, Dot Fisher-Smith. She and her husband John Fisher-Smith will be coming for Q&A. I thought I'd share the information about this here too, because Dot is a planetary citizen-activist and both films about her are really great.

This is the film we'll be showinghttp://www.dotthefilm.com/thefilm.html It's about 50 minutes long. A shorter film-festival version of Dot, named An Ordinary Life, played to a full house at this year’s AIFF and has been accepted at film festivals across the country. 

Filmed over a period of 20 years by Producer Willow Denker, a friend of Dot’s, the archive was then shaped into the documentaries with some new footage by Patricia Somers, Director.

Mail-Tribune photo
In one news photo that went viral worldwide, a sweet-looking elderly lady named Dot is seen risking her neck (literally) in an action to save old growth trees. We've seen this incident referenced in two very fine documentaries that we've screened earlier in our series (Butterfly, and If a Tree Falls). The film Dot gives a more in-depth view of this cheerful dynamo as a woman, artist, and Buddhist, and celebrates her lifetime of commitment to justice. 

Dot Fisher-Smith is an artist, counselor, group facilitator, community elder, long-time social (peace and justice) activist and forest defender, with a long proud record of civil disobedience beginning with attempting to stop the war in Vietnam in 1967. Thirty-five years a student/practicer of Soto Zen Buddhism.  Journal writer since 1968. Poetry is her present passion.

Dot's husband John Fisher-Smith will also be coming to our screening. From http://oregonpoeticvoices.org/poet/153/ :
Writer and poet John Fisher-Smith, father of three sons, retired architect and avid gardener, lives with his wife Dot in a passive solar home they designed in Ashland. He has written and read over a hundred "commentaries" on place and value, over Jefferson Public Radio. Forty of these are self-published as prose poems in Opening my Eyes; Old Fool Press; 2008.
Here's a short video of the solar home John designed:

Dot as artist: The interview linked below has some nice coverage of Dot's art. From her poem "Along Buckthorn Road" these lines caught my eye --

This arrangement of rocks is too perfect to be natural:/Lines you'd swear were etched by human hands
Those lines caught my eye because you could say the same thing about her art which you see in the documentary, but in reverse:  it feels so natural you'd swear it was not etched by human hands.

This is the 20-minute interviewhttp://vimeo.com/20215220 The interviewer introduces Dot with the comment that many seniors come here (to the Rogue Valley) not to retire but to become elders. I liked that! At about the 8-minute mark there is a nice section on her art, with music.

In the interview Dot quotes this poem by William Stafford, Oregon poet laureate:

The Way It Is

There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change.  But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.

~ William Stafford 

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