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An Ordinary Life
An Ordinary Life
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Dot on bike

"'An Ordinary Life' is a meditation on meaning and purpose and a remarkable reminder that ultimately all we have is time.... [It] is not a bio-pic. It is not linear; rather, director and film editor Patricia Somers has, with sensitivity and a probing touch, created a montage of interviews and photographs.... Seeing those images of Fisher-Smith, and hearing her reflect on those days, is to understand the tension created between a desire for self-fulfillment, for spiritual awakening, and the exigencies of family and children....

"Thomas Merton once wrote, "If God confronts Rabbi Stein, the question he would ask is not why was he not more like Moses, but why was he not more like Rabbi Stein." As is evident in 'An Ordinary Life,' this would not be a question posed to Fisher-Smith, for she clearly has been and continues to be, simply, courageously herself. Which is extraordinary."

- Chris Honoré, Ashland Daily Tidings

Trident action

"It brings back a huge time of the late 60s, protest, acid, back to the land, finding a spiritual path - so many millions did this same thing. It's exactly how I got here and have been happy since. It really pulls in the search for AND FINDING the meaning of life, love, community, nature, children, all of it. It's kind of a model of the whole tamale that millions should be able to relate to and say, as I did, oh, I get it. I did find it!"

- John Darling, longtime Southern Oregon journalist

Dot dancing

Excerpts from Darling's article in the Medford, Oregon Mail-Tribune:

"People tell me I'm a model for them and that how I live my life is inspiring, but what I do is bumble along, minute by minute," Fisher-Smith says. "When I'm hungry, I eat, when I have errands, I get on my bike, when I'm sleepy I ... resist going to bed," she adds, laughing.

"I'm very pragmatic and minimalist," Dot says. "At the heart of it, what inspires people is that I'm my own authority. I've never been conventional. I don't look to any outside authority. That's what everyone wants."

Comments from Viewers:

"Such a work of inspiration!  It was particularly special to have the opportunity to see it with Helen....Our primary daily focus is the business of living while dying... and truly being in the authentic present with one another, as women 50 and 98 years old; the ordinariness as well as the everpresent extraordinariness of life as captured within Dot's story really gave us a container for what we experience every day. It is beautiful."

- Caterina Moore

"The film is beautifully wrapped around the armature of a present time interview with Dot that comes in and out of focus as the film progresses.... The filmmakers mesh images of great beauty with situations of great sadness.... They also allow the viewer to see that an extraordinary life can have streaks of regret woven into its warp and woof."

- Joseph Friedman

"I've popped it in a few times when I'm feeling low just because it opens my heart. I still cry every time I see your son and his farewell. It is so beautiful."

- Pam Gianola

Dot in Tibet

Photo by John Fisher-Smith

Slow Moving Pictures presents An Ordinary Life

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