Our June update comes at a time where, and it could just be us, the summer is starting with some harsh blows.
Maybe this month is not much different from those since the fire, and the hardships could just be a coincidence. But some rough run of luck seems on a tear for many of the Camp Fire survivors (us included, see below). Regardless, we’ll all push on together.
As we’ve all heard, Phil John, chair of the Paradise Fire Safe Council (and husband to Paradise Unified School District’s Superintendent Michelle John) passed away June 11.
As with many of our emotions these days, to pinpoint just why this event hit us harder than others is difficult to say. Maybe it’s that it’s the kind of normal heartbreak we all feel, but absorbing it under the shadow still cast by November 8 places just a few more straws on the camel’s back.
Or for us working on Three Days in Paradise, it’s echoed by more ‘normal’ heartbreaks on the home front. Producer Laura Smith (my peerless wife) has seen her father pass away May 26–two weeks before her mother moved into assisted living with Parkinson’s.
Then there was the development I’ve announced to the crew and now I’m letting you all know. I’ve been diagnosed with Bells Palsy, a temporary condition brought on by a variety of factors. While it’s stroke-like effect on the muscles of a person’s face can be unnerving, my doctors have expressed their hope for a full recovery (though it could take up to six months).
So what does this mean?
In the long run, nothing. We continue to work. We continue to write and edit. We continue to plan for more interviews (on top of the dozens we’ve already done).
We are still convinced Three Days in Paradise will be a documentary on Butte County and the Camp Fire unlike any other.
But in the short run, it’s taken some rescheduling while we consult with doctors about the best way forward in terms of recovery and work. The sizzle reel we’d hoped to release in June will now be out sometime in July. The push for funding (including showcasing some editing passages of various episodes of the series) will now be a few weeks later than originally hoped.
So we work while we mourn. We work while we heal. We push on because as we know, that’s what we all have to do now.