I always struggle with the start bits.
But as I look around the confines of my blog page I’m suddenly reminded of a glaringly obvious fact – my last post was nearly a year ago, and it was a quick update about my podcast.
A podcast that only exists because a podcast I had planned to do with Pippa had fallen by the wayside.
We planned it for months; she would call me every day at around 1am and unload on me for hours at a time about all the things she had meticulously mapped out during her off-time from work. At some point we even tossed around an idea called ‘Hooker Math’ that involved taking a well known scientific or mathematical doctrine, and trying to explain how sex workers used it in their everyday lives to even greater effect than scientists.
I remember struggling with the concept, and suggested another podcast segment instead, one that involved breaking down the ins and outs of why sex workers charge ‘X’ amount of money for different services.
“Maybe we can call it ‘Just the tip’, because it’s about money? Eh?”….
…There was silence on the other end of the phone…
“No”, she said stoutly, before her mind wandered off and shifted into another gear, and she began to talk about how earlier in the day she was feeding a flock of birds that had taken up residence on her balcony. At least, I think that’s what she was talking about, because if you never had the pleasure of hearing Pippa speak then you probably wouldn’t realise she sounds like Speedy Gonzales after a three day caffeine and amphetamine bender.
Pippa was proof positive of Einstein’s notion of relativity; she existed in a different frame of time that operated at a different speed than the rest of us.
Of course as I look around my blog page further, I’m reminded of the first time I had learned of the extent of Pippa’s problems. During one of her first stints in rehab we would text for hours at a time, where she usually would show me the blogs and journals she had written while there. One had so perfectly summed up her experiences I was a little flawed for words; through all of my praises of her journal I was silently seething underneath.
This is because she was a far better writer than I ever could and ever will be, and I prided myself on my literary abilities. This particularly journal was so beautifully written it seemed more like poetry than regular prose, and had a wonderful pace that made me understand her problems for the very first time.
I had finally realised that Pippa wasn’t just the alter-ego of Grace, she was the Bruce Banner like figure that bounced around inside the hulking green shell she had built for herself on the outside.
‘Pippa’ was an existential crisis; a scientific conundrum that showed the universe that two people can exist in the same place at the same time.
Before this moment I had adored her….
…after this moment I had loved her.
Naturally I told her how I felt about her writing, and she told me something that I’ve never forgotten. She told me, “I want you to write more, because I love your writing”. And here we are.
Look Pip, I wrote some words, and this time they’re about you.
I ummed and arred about taking to social media like so many have, because the stories I have with her aren’t the kind of thing you want to etch into the zeros and ones of the internet forever. Most of them involve either being drunk, or listening to her tell me about the ghosts that she thought were haunting her apartment. In our big podcast finale we were going to record a séance, and do a live ghost hunt in the confines of her tiny apartment space to prove once and for all that the ‘other side’ is real, and among other things, is responsible for moving her keys around during the night.
In the end she also taught me a lot of about atheism, more so because as I rolled around in bed this morning trying to come to grips with how I really felt about her death, speaking to myself aloud, it dawned on me the importance of an afterlife.
It’s important not so much for the departed, but more so for the people they leave behind. Atheism brings with it so much finality, and it doesn’t seem right or fair that we never get to say how we truly feel about someone in the wake of their departure. So instead we whisper to shadows and put our feelings into prayers, hoping that a passing wind will take them to where they need to go.
It makes sense to me now, because ancient people never had the technology to forever immortalise the people important to us; and thank goodness, because the exploits of Jesus wouldn’t have seemed so impressive if he was on Facebook.
Mary Magdalene is in a relationship with Jesus, and it’s complicated.
So here is my engraving on a wall, my epitaph on a digital plaque.
Goodbye Pip, you finally got me writing again; you were a campaigner for the rights of women, sex workers, and people with depression. You were a far greater person than I am, and as long as I keep writing, a part of you will always be here with us.
It’s what you deserve.