Heaven was lost. She tells her stories.

Pictures of the wildfire that devastated Paradise, California. , in 2018 are hard to forget. Known as the Camp Fire – after Camp Creek ...


Pictures of the wildfire that devastated Paradise, California., in 2018 are hard to forget. Known as the Camp Fire – after Camp Creek Road, where it started – the disaster killed at least 85 people and essentially destroyed the whole town. Lizzie Johnson was a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle at the time, and her new book, “Paradise,” is a living tale of the disaster, told through the stories of those who lived through it. Johnson, now a reporter for the Washington Post, talks about the fire as a turning point, how the scope and structure of his book has changed over time, and more.

When did you first have the idea of ​​writing this book?

The book came out long before the campfire itself. I had been writing about wildfires for quite some time, and there wasn’t much written about their long-term effects – how people tried to rebuild their lives and their sense of community, and about what those fires were doing to the landscape and our collective sense of safety in California. It seemed like each year the condition got a little more irritating. When the campfire happened, it became clear that this was a big turning point for the state, and I knew that was what the book would be about and that I would mingle with other fires that I did. have covered.

There is no way I can put it all in a journal. It was all so chaotic, and it was really hard to figure out what had happened, and there was this seizure for months and even years after, wondering how this fire started and what he had done to it. city.

What’s the most surprising thing you learned while writing it?

I’m really obsessed with my reporting, and for some reason I was trying to find out more about the Oroville Dam. One of the biggest near natural disasters in California came in 2017, when there was too much rain and the dam, which is the tallest in the country, nearly collapsed. When they built it, they had imported all these stones from all over the world, and there are stones from the Taj Mahal in the dam, which is wild. I was not able to integrate this fact into the book because it did not flow into the story. But I thought it was cool.

Plus, you still think firefighters are very stoic and brave people, and just realizing how scared they are about these fires is really telling about the severity of fires and their worst. These are the people we are waiting to save, and at some point they cannot.

Credit…Alexandre campbell

How is the book you wrote different from the book you are about to write?

I feel like I wrote three different versions of this book – the wrong version, the slightly better version, and the version that came out. The difference to making a structure that made sense was to organize it around the five stages of a forest fire: ignition, spark, conflagration, containment, ash.

You can’t cover every part of it, and in the beginning that’s what I was trying to do. It was that monster of one thing, always pushing new tentacles. I remember turning the first part of the book to my editor, and she said it looked great. He was focused on paradise. And then I got lost in the forest and rewrote the whole first part, and she just emailed me, “Hey, can you call me?” It became a huge mess, because I was trying to do too much.

By organizing it around these five parts, I was able to make it something more readable. The book I intended to write was really global, and at some point I realized I had to center it around the city of Paradise.

Which creative person (not a writer) has influenced you and your work?

During the pandemic, I got really interested in pottery and ceramics, as a tactile way to create something in the middle of creating something that sometimes felt very abstract. Writing a book feels like it came out of nowhere. There are a few ceramicists that I really admire – Jennifer King of Jen King Studio, Beth Katz from Mount Washington Pottery, Kimmy Rohrs from Whiskey & Clay, Fernando Aciar from Studio Fefo. To do something beautiful like this requires a certain structural integrity that you see in writing as well. He must be able to hold on and look effortless. Looking at their ceramics, I realized how difficult it is to create something beautiful and balanced in your hands that will not explode in the kiln.

A bowl can look 10,000 different ways. I spent a lot of time looking at photos of bowls and plates and watching videos of how ceramists made their items. My poor friends, they all have a ton of little warped bowls.

Persuade someone to read “Paradise” in 50 words or less.

Climate change is not that thing on the horizon that we will be facing 10 years from now – we are living with it now. Heaven is a vivid example of what we stand to lose. We must heed his warning, because it will not be the last place destroyed by disaster.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Heaven was lost. She tells her stories.
Heaven was lost. She tells her stories.
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