143 Comments

This one’s a cathedral window, Chloe. Every sentence a colored shard.

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I remember when I first read Joan Didion in freshman college English Lit, and I was astounded. I don't think I'd ever before read a piece in which every sentence, every word, had an essential role to play -- and there was nothing extra. No padding. I get that same feeling when I read Chloe's pieces. "Every sentence a colored shard" is a beautiful way to put it.

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Blimey, that's awfully generous, Maia. Thank you.

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every word of it, true. I don't like to make things up ; )

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Every word in your comment perfectly captures how it is :)

Well said, Maia.

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You're a cathedral window, Adam. Truly 🤍

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One cathedral.

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‘Tis true

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Welcome to all the new Death & Birders. It seems the world is discovering our Chloe and it's such a beautiful thing to witness. It's impossible not to fall in love with such a gentle spirit who has this gorgeous whispery voice of an angel that can employ the word fuck so appropriately. There are Sunday mornings when Chloe does not post. I don't think it's coincidental that I sputter through those weeks like a car running on fumes. Today's post was both devastating and soaring. But that's the magic trick of Death & Birds.

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Death & Birders! Oh, I love that... Thank you for being welcoming, and for saying such sweet and lovely things. I try to use fuck only when it's really worth it, sacred word that it is. Devastating and soaring, I'm so glad it came through as both. Thank you, always, Ben.

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I had no idea that was a sacred word. Jesus, how do I clean that up?

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I don’t think Jesus is a subscriber (yet) so he might not see this, but if that changes I’ll let you know

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Reading Death & Birds is like my Sunday church.

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May 12·edited May 12Liked by Chloe Hope

Ben, I love how you used the word “our” .

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May 12Liked by Chloe Hope

You always make me cry, Chloe, and sometimes I don’t know why, but I thank you for the release of all the jumbled up emotions - for being given a moment when I don’t have to hold it in and get on with things, blinkers on. Perhaps it’s because I get to see that someone out there sees and feels these things too. That you’re able to get these small, true moments down on the page is remarkable. I’m so glad Peter and his wife were there with his sandwich x

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Tor, I so deeply appreciate you sharing that, and you letting some of the build up be let go. It's important week, easily shrugged off. Peter and his wife and their sandwich are the best of us x

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When you’re very delicate you can see very delicate things. This piece was exceptional.

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May 12Liked by Chloe Hope

Exceptional indeed. Chloe never gets in the way of herself - of the writing. It’s so pure. Distilled. Almost homeopathic. I don’t know how she gets to the essence of things, of us, but she does.

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Homeopathic! How lovely, thank you, Tor. (And I assure you, I get in the way of myself constantly!) x

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Hi Chloe, an especially moving but also funny post. Apologising for fainting; that's just wonderful. But I hope you're ok.

Your tale of the starling and the pigeons made me think of something I saw here in Tokyo recently. A woman was walking briskly down the opposite side of the street when suddenly I was aware of a blur of tiny wings. At first, I thought it was a large butterfly. But it turned out to be a house sparrow who made straight for the woman and then hovered—I swear, it hovered for a few seconds—whereupon, as if by previous arrangement, the woman took some crumbs out of her bag and threw them towards the bird, who quickly ate them up. The woman then proceeded on her way, as if nothing remarkable had happened. It was all over in a quietly surreal few seconds. I felt I'd witnessed a Chloe Hope-like moment of bird magic.

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Jeffrey, I'm so very ok, thank you. I'd do it all again if it meant spending a little time with Peter & Gillian! How wonderful that you got to catch a glimpse of some precious and magical interspecies kindness. Sounds like they probably do have an arrangement, Sparrows are so clever, as are the folks who make time for them. Thank you for being here. I'm still on the hunt for The Order, btw ;)

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That was a bird that spent time with Chloe - or a woman that reads her.

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May 12·edited May 12Liked by Chloe Hope

A tincture of home.

To a copious amount of bird notes, add a multitude of kindness . An endless quantity of love and compassion , and

6 drops of essence of quiet .

Ever so carefully, bring to a raging boil.

Gently place outside to cool in the long grass just after sunset .

Ready at the still light of dawn.

A small bottle labeled ;Hope with a C♥️

(three drops taken sublingually as needed)

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"Ever so carefully, bring to a raging boil. Gently place outside to cool in the long grass just after sunset ." You know me so well ♥️ Yours is the only apothecary I want to visit.

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I adore seeing you in the mean, cat-less streets of the city, bringing your whole heart to the scenes of obscene wealth hoarding and indifference to suffering. It takes a toll, it does. I love Peter and Gillian and the hauntingly beautiful portrait of Terry. And this line, one among too many to love (equally, of course): How fickle favour can be. 💔

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It does take a toll, its really does. I wonder about how much energy we're all having to expend to mask the heartache that something as simple as an afternoon in the city provokes... Peter, Gillian, Terry, all such extraordinary beings. Thank you for seeing it all, dear Julie 🤍

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You’ve inspired me to renew my promise to myself to live (and write) from a more open-hearted place. It’s too easy to slip back.

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Then my work here is done! ❤️

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I share many of the thoughts here, about the injustice faced by pigeons, about the ugly display of wealth on city streets, on Daniel being misled by the medical pharma industrial complex, about Terry dying of Aids in an uncaring and cruel times--I remember the Thatcher-Reagan 1980s. Fainting is a normal response to stress. Our bodies do not lie; but humans do. Easily.

And boy do we have a lot of stress today. I also tell Arya the Cockatiel, my companion, every night that he's the best bird in the world. It is true that he is, as it is true that I love all birds. Thank you for this beautiful and honest essay.

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Oof, yes, it's a lot. All the injustice, so very weighty. So much for the body to process, so little encouragement to take the time to do so...

Arya.. I send my love to Arya. Thank you, Perry

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This is absolutely the best piece I have read all week. When I lived in London for the first part of my life, the National Gallery was my sanctuary. Like a secret place none of my friends would visit, just me and these huge paintings and all that space in those huge rooms. This was before the days of Ryanair and Easy Jet. When I retuned after 25 years, I couldn't believe the hoards and hoards of people...not absorbing, but just aimlessly ticking off a box. I like Peter.

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We used to live a short walk from it and I would go just as it was opening so I could sit in front of that Delaroche painting, The Execution of Lady Jane Grey, and take it in while it was still quiet. I can lose myself so easily in that painting. It is a magical place, but yes, the crowds...ouch. I can only imagine what it used to be like, pre the standard cursory glance at these pieces which deserves ones full and total attention (then again, perhaps that's just something that's not easily accessible anymore).

Peter is a true philosopher.

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Yes! The Lady Jane Grey is my favourite too! I must stare at her hands. And those shiny pleats in her dress. Have you ever tried to draw your hand with a pencil? This guy was genius! I know Peter would have stared at her hands!

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It's the hands for me, too! Hers and John Brydges, the way he's so softly guiding her. I could easily spend a whole day, more, with that one. Peter would've been lost to the hands! (And the eerie omission of cats, no doubt!)

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Agree. 💯

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Beautiful writing and thoughts. I found you and subscribed because of Nick Hornby’s mention so hurrah for that.

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Hurrah! Lovely to have you here, Ros

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Squealed with glee for you when I saw the mention by Nick Hornby this week! What a thrill :)))

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Aww, Luisa, that's very sweet, thank you :)

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I loved this whole piece, but I'm especially grateful for your story about your friend Daniel, because I've had a friend with a similar story and I don't see it talked about often in the wild.

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Thank you, Marlene. I'm so sorry you had to watch someone dear to you experience that. It's so woefully neglected as a subject, which only serves to deepen the sense of injustice.

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Very sorry for your loss.

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I find it difficult (as a caregiver) to receive kindness and care. Yet being the one in need is so beautifully humbling, isn't it? I admire the tangible object you've made from your experience, Chloe. This essay feeds us all.

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Ann, thank you so much, and yes, mighty humbling! Such an odd experience to lay down in a gallery, even if by mistake and only momentarily...

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May 12Liked by Chloe Hope

Chloe, thank you for such a beautiful essay, especially when read along with your cadence. Who knows, I might even find Nick Hornby because of this post?

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John! Ha! You make me chuckle, thank you, thank you :)

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Haha. Perfect.

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You always seem to say exactly what is in my head, clamoring away because we don’t get the chance to scream, and notice, and love one another all the same. Every essay is a cathartic joy, Chloe. 💜

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Freya, thank you for such sweet and true words. We are so desperately in need of more opportunities to scream 🤍

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so with you in being insane in this supposedly sane life. Did you know Emily Dickinson also wrote to her friends that way—about being insane if this world is what we’re told is sane? Those who see it—we’re all in it together. 💜

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I didn't know that, though I'm not all that surprised, she seemed to know exactly what was up! There's a Krishnamurti quote I heard an age ago, that sums it up nicely: “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” 💛

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that’s exactly it. 💜

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I can't top Adam Nathan's comment--"This one's a cathedral window.... Every sentence a colored shard."--so I won't try. I'll just say "thank you." From my heart.

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A big thank you from mine to yours, Susan

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Chloe - beautiful essay. I listened to your audio voiceover while reading. Thank you for a great way to start my morning.

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Matthew, thank you for listening, I'm so glad you enjoyed.

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Tell me about it.

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