Our mate Sam de Brito

By Adam Gibson

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It’s 3am when it hits. That end-of-the-world feeling. That feeling that everything you’ve done in life isn’t right and that everything you’re going to do henceforth is going to go down the wrong path, for sure. At 3am, on a humid Sydney night; at 3am, on a cold Paris night; at 3am, in Bondi, when the fireworks have not long finished banging and the world is telling you how “good” everything is. And, yet, you feel bereft.

It was on just such a pre-dawn morning about five years ago that just such a feeling swamped me like a groundswell set of waves on my home beach of Bondi. And it was on just such a 3am morning when I frantically searched my phone for someone to call who could, somehow, hopefully, help me through. Brother overseas, wrong time zone. Mother, up the road, don’t want to worry her. Childhood mate, newborn baby, can’t wake him. Who else to call? I scrolled down my phone to “S” … and found the necessary name – “Sambo”.

And so I called Sam de Brito and he answered and we talked. He wasn’t startled I’d rung; we just chatted as if it was any normal call. The problems of the world weren’t solved, nor were the ones in my life. But the fact is, he was there. And in those circumstances, that’s all that ultimately mattered.

I first met Sam when we were copyboys at News Ltd in 1989. We soon gained our journalism cadetships at News Ltd and proceeded to dive into the cut and thrust world of Sydney newspapers of the time. Sam was always a charming figure with a sweep of artfully tossed straight blond hair, sharp suits with pleated pants and narrow leather ties, Sam always having his top shirt button undone so his tie could hang in a decidedly louche fashion.

What was forged in that fire of midnight-to-dawn shifts, of chasing stories across Sydney, of late nights in smoky pubs watching long forgotten bands, was a deep friendship. A friendship based not just on the easy banter of young twentysomething talk of footy and women, but on a deeper level of human engagement. About philosophy and art and the argument about which was the best Pixies record. Sure we talked about footy and women too, but that was always secondary to the search for something. Something more interesting, something more important, something to make life worth it.

About a decade ago, I bumped into Sam at North Bondi, he having emerged from a run and a swim and me heading down to do just the same. I knew he’d been struggling to write the novel that he’d always wanted to write and after many many conversations about it, when he spoke of his struggle on this occasion, I sort of lost it at him.

He was torturing himself with philosophical musings and theoretical positions. So I said, “Mate, just write the bloody thing. Write about us, write about growing up in Bondi, stop over-thinking it.” Within a year his first novel The Lost Boys was published and he always told me, and mentioned in the forward of the book, that it wouldn’t have been written if I hadn’t said those words.

But if I could have some modicum of influence on him, he more than made up for it in return throughout later years. As a confidant, as a sounding board, as a mate. It was in these later years that he became a columnist for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age – a forum that allowed him to reach a far wider range of people and which afforded him both fans and critics alike. The one thing that Sam never shied away from was a good argument and whilst he held strong opinions, they were always informed opinions, based on thought-through ideas and concepts grounded by intensive reading of canonic and popular texts. He was no Google Philosopher – he knew his stuff.

Having strong, well-articulated opinions, and not being afraid to publish them, is, however, like having a target on your head in this era. And Sam wore the shots from many. He was accused of being sexist, misogynistic, arrogant, ignorant; a dumb yobbo and who was “just a stupid bloke”. But anyone who knew him personally knew that such perceptions were in no way the measure of the man. The Twitter heroes and the two-bit intelligentsia knew nothing of the man. And to see him belittled and mocked by some commentators and members of the public who, at a guess, did not have an ounce of the goodness of spirit and intent that Sam had, pissed us, his friends, off no end. He was never malicious and always sought to make the world a better place, as clichéd as it sounds, through his writing.

But I guess that’s the nature of friendship. You feel your friends’ pain when they are feeling pain and you feel their happiness when they are feeling happy. I introduced Sam to the woman who became his partner and the mother of his child and their early happiness, and eventual joy about the raising of their child, was something that as Godfather to that child made me equally joyous.

I can’t write this any more, I have no words, I need some advice on where to turn with the next sentence. But now, today, at 6pm on a lovely Bondi evening, after a storm has just cracked across town with lashing winds and hail, when I would more than likely see Sambo walk past my window on the way to the beach with his beloved daughter Noush, I need to call Sam … and he’s not there at the end of a phone line. Sam died today.

—-

Thanks for all comments, I will try to respond in time. Much appreciated – Adam Gibbo

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115 Comments on “Our mate Sam de Brito”

  1. Eloise says:

    Beautiful and empty- you are a good friend. Thanks for sharing. X

  2. Teresa says:

    Beautiful words about a most beautiful man… he will be so missed in Nth Bondi & everywhere. Farewell Sam x

  3. Owen says:

    My Condolences Adam. A great tribute to an obviously good mate. Glad to have read.

  4. Karin says:

    Adam – such beautiful words at a time where the words must be impossible to find. I’m very sorry for your loss and thank you for sharing this with those who only knew Sam from afar.

  5. Robert Wainwright says:

    Beautiful, just beautiful

  6. Fi says:

    Adam, so beautifully written, so heartfelt. I remember him as a copy kid and young journo (and you, too), his humour, his smile, his enthusiasm. I hadn’t seen Sam for years, but followed his astonishing talent on the net from half a world away, occasionally dropping him a line to congratulate him on a column. Even so, his passing has shocked me deeply. Such vibrancy, such intelligence, such talent gone for good. Too young, too much left to give. It is very, very sad.

  7. Todd Slater says:

    Beautiful & moving Adam.
    Beyond sad. May Sam rest easy x

  8. Dom says:

    Thank you, I have been awake most of the night thinking of my friend, my “cousin” and one hell of good bloke. We will miss you Sam.

  9. Alex Speed says:

    Beautiful words Adam – I too hadn’t seen Sam for years but caught up at the cadet reunion last year (or was it the year before) He was the same Sam. Such very sad news x

  10. Chris Binns says:

    As an unabashed fan of Sam I contacted him once on the off chance he might interested in forwarding a copy of Lost Boys to the surfing magazine I edited, for review purposes. To my surprise, and delight, Sam replied enthusiastically and popped a signed copy in the post. I would have suspected the end of that transaction would have been the end of our correspondence, but no, Sam and I continued to email on all manner of topics over the years. A true inspiration to a young writer, and from my experience a stellar human to boot he will be sorely missed. Very sad news today, rest in peace SDB, and thanks for sharing your words Adam.

  11. John Ruffels says:

    Nicely and honestly expressed Adam. It encapsulates a good Bondi friendship on all its levels. Sometimes Bondi people are deeper than we think. And they wear their learning lightly.

  12. Will H says:

    Dear Adam. I feel you. Thanks for your words.
    A true mate. Sambo, a good man gone but not forgotten.

  13. Tim Freedman says:

    Yes he was always thinking… I needed to read your piece Adam. I thought of you straight away when I heard. Love to you…

  14. fiona H says:

    Beautiful words – I remember you and he in the halls of Holt Street back in the day. Always laughing.

  15. Cynthia Newton says:

    Eloquent. Beautiful. So sad and such a testament to a dear friend. Dry your tears and day by day celebrate your friend. Thank you for remembering him.

    • Julie says:

      I remember him being very hurt about Sonia Kruger-the Muppet- ridiculing him on tv. He was trying to experience life as a woman for a week.
      Yesterday I posted Sonia Kruger a reminder of what a cunt she is. Sam had loyal defenders. We knew he was exposed and that made him fragile.
      I read his blog two days ago and he said in it that he was imbibing whiskey with some codeine.. Who’d have guessed he’d go out like a rock star.
      Sorry I’m not sure why my keyboard is auto typing that swear word re Kruger.
      Speaking of fake faces, Sam was the opposite. The voice of truth. He grew up. Yes he started as a misogynist but grew into a feminist and vegan.
      Being vegan and promoting kindness to animals is the most worthy use of his life in the opinion of a fellow vegan feminist truth-teller. He loved my name because he loved his mum.
      I think he lived fully. Going to paris to write a novel when you don’t speak French. He lived his dreams. He referred to me as the high priestess in his column. I shit stirred him in his sexist days and he banned me from commenting. If anyone has sam appear in a dream please tell me about it!

  16. Sean Hogben says:

    Hi Adam. Some tough realisations here. You, Sam and your cohort always seemed to have a casual intellectual confidence born of adequate time to think. Enviable. But Sam also came from a family and had in Gus a dad who pursued a well-crafted argument with both wit and generosity. Gus was one of my early mentors, the first multilingual journalist I ever met who could turn his hand to anything expertly, including turning a very big wheel. If our characters reflect our environment Sam’s generosity, integrity and honesty owes much to his family, who surely are hurting greatly right now. Your gentle and unflinching support will be well needed by them now and in future by his daughter. You can tell her how much fun her handsome dad brought to so many lives and how everything counts even if nothing matters. Godfathers are important people and you will be a worthy and considered guide and protector. In that, you will never lose the Sambo connection.

  17. veritychambers says:

    Sam will really be missed, by all of us but especially by the people closest to him – you, the De Brito and Flannery families, Marcus, Michael. I remember long afternoons (and too-long nights) at The Star, Sam so damn handsome, all of us a little new to the news game but already so deeply in love with it, and with one another. I still feel a part of that family, you know? Sam became a such a great writer – his last column was so moving and beautiful. I still don’t quite believe he’s gone.

    It’s been a privilege to read this Adam. I hope the pain and grief ends soon, and please give Anoushka a hug for all of us x

  18. William Bowden says:

    Very sorry to hear the news, I read his column so many times over the years.

  19. Mel Gaudron says:

    What a gift you are to the world Adam. When I heard the news I also thought of you straight away (along with Hendo and Michael Idato!) and here you are so poignantly capturing your beautiful friendship. All my love to you and please plant a kiss on little Anoushka’s head. So very sad. Xxx

  20. adrian says:

    A lovely tribute, Adam…for that wonderful Waverley prick!

    May your grief be sweet in the end.

  21. Kirsty Cameron says:

    Adam, I’m so sorry, and sorry that my first contact with you in so many years (20?) is because of this. What a beautiful testament. The bit about the blond hair and the louche tie made me smile — that’s my memory of Sam from Holt St. Thinking of that cadre of cadets — nice observations Sean Hogben — with much love and deep sympathy from here in NZ.

    • afgibson says:

      Thanks Kirsty, yes a lot of people are hurt, the years have passed and many of us have drifted away, but we always have that amazing early connection. Much appreciated. Adam

  22. Martin Kelly says:

    Thanks Adam.Hard news to take.

  23. Megan says:

    That was heartbreaking and beautiful to read.

  24. Nicole says:

    Just read this off on the SMH website. A beautiful gut wrenching tribute to a mate. Thank you from someone the same (ish) age/ same (ish) struggles.

  25. Gerard says:

    I have a friend like that. Hard to imagine how I would feel if I lost him.

  26. James (an ordinary bloke from the suburbs of Sydney) says:

    I have felt your pain mate. It hurts. Us blokes need to be able to reach out to each other. My email is below if ever you need someone to talk to.

  27. Dee says:

    Beautifully written and from your heart.! I met you years ago and we spoke about the book Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman. It made me sad about the types of people he had to deal with. He will always be with you ! X Dee

  28. Lisa says:

    Such a lovely piece Adam. I remember you, Sam and Paul from ninemsn days and my heart goes out to you.

  29. Alex Workman says:

    Lovely tribute Adam. Condolences to you and Sam’s family.

  30. al says:

    you’re a lucky man, adam; i wish i knew him as well as you. the last time we corresponded was march and i can’t even definitvely pinpoint the last time we met; more than 15 years. but my memories of sam are and will always remain funny, warm and intensely positive… from watching him wrestle crass on the grass out the back of the denham street flat i had, to his embrace at my mum’s funeral when i was falling apart and needed it. my sympathies and condolences to all.

  31. GaryP says:

    So sad, would love to have met Sam, he had so much to say and say well with conviction and meaning. A gaping hole left behind for his family, friends and those he touched. Vale Sam de Brito.

  32. That was nice Adam, thanks. I hope you don’t generally remember the trolls, for every hundred people who read a piece and loved it there was one dickhead who’s mouth off. His great writing got me through a lot of shitty workdays. Yay Sam! He made a big difference 🙂

  33. Jo says:

    Adam that was a beautifully written piece. I thank you for finding the strength to write this at such a overwhelmingly SHITTY time. You’ve given lovely insight into the true character of this top bloke gone too soon.

  34. Zoe says:

    A lovely ode, to someone who will obviously be a keenly-missed friend. As an avid reader of Sam’s columns, thanks for speaking for all of us who didn’t know him, but felt we did. Stay strong during this dark time. x

  35. Johann says:

    Well written mate. Sam will be missed by all who were lucky enough to know him.

  36. Dr Cathy Sherry says:

    Adam, I’m an academic, I’m a feminist and I thought Sam was simply brilliant. His writing was intelligent, original, and insightful. I cannot understand how anyone could accuse him of being a misogynist. He just didn’t toe the party line. He thought about issues for himself, with humanity, decency and honesty. He said things that lots of people may not want to hear, eg about child care, but that just made him intellectually and emotionally honest and brave. Our media will be so much the poorer for his loss. Condolences to you and his family.

  37. Tina says:

    I never met Sam but inhaled every word he wrote and bought every book published. I felt like I knew him and what a great, solid, learned character he was. I so wish I’d had the chance to tell him in person the impact his words had on me and the way I raise my blokes. I am so sorry for your and our loss Adam.

  38. Jacqui Lang says:

    Lovely tribute Adam. So sad. Thinking of you, Sam’s family and friends.

  39. I don’t know you Adam and I didn’t know Sam. But through your words I feel such a sense of loss, love and great Aussie mate-ship. Thank you for writing something so authentic; it’s a lovely tribute. My deepest condolences to Sam’s family and friends.

  40. A man not scared to write his truth. (Much of which I could empathise with.)

    Adam – thanks for sharing your words, and so sorry for your loss.

  41. Suzy says:

    Such a lovely piece Adam. I met Sam as a silly school girl. We shared a couple of snogs when we were 14 or 15. But what I remember is one night after sneaking into Billy the Pigs in Bondi Junction, sitting at the Bondi Junction bus shelter as it was in those days, chatting about our shared love of Shakespeare. Sam and I both had a passion for literature, poetry and words. I went on to become a wordsmith like him, working for many years as a journalist in tv news and current affairs at the BBC in London.
    Sam had an acerbic wit, a fertile mind, and a kindness which knew no bounds. He could be cocky, he could be up himself, but underneath it all wrapped inside that package was a bloke who loved life, adored his friends and family and had a heart of gold. He was one in a million. x

  42. Robyn Coyle says:

    Adam
    I felt every word you wrote! I read Sams book ehen it was published- it inspired not only my then struggling 15 year old son but it also inspired an acquantaince who rarely read and eho was suffering from bad, severe depression ( but who related to the story in the book) to read it! It was a true reference for him! I just loved his prose and his talent! Although i never met sam – I wish i had been privilegef to! His passing has really affectef me! A sensitive intelligent soul ( eho was also awesomely attractive) gone! Adam i am so sorry for your loss ! I truly empathise robyn

  43. Gina Johnson says:

    Dear Adam, your beautiful words are a reminder of the enduring impact of lifelong friendship and the bonds that were forged through those hazy, crazy days of Holt Street. Stay well old friend. I will think of you, Sam, Kate and the DeBrito family often in the coming days.

  44. Pam says:

    I think the bottom line here is who was there for Sam? Or more poignantly whi did Sam feel he could call?

    This society does not avail itself for communicating despair a cultural thing perhaps?

    Make sure all your true friends know you are there

    • afgibson says:

      Thanks Pam. A lot of people were always there for Sam and he did have people very close by on the night. All indications are that, as communicated by the police, this was simply a basic health issue or an accident. Everyone who spoke to him in recent days, including me, can confirm he was in very good spirits and was very positive about the future and everything else.

    • GaryP says:

      100% Pam. Not sure I would know who to call – or, more importantly, who, of my friends would know they should call me for support in their time of need at any time. Maybe that is Sam’s legacy – his emotional intelligence and willingness to admit his vulnerabilities as an example to all?

  45. Terrie says:

    Thanks Adam for a a beautiful tribute I was so looking forward to reading Sam’s work in the future. My heartfelt condolences to Sam’s family and friends.

  46. Jasmine says:

    We should all be lucky enough to have a friend we can call at 3am. And we should all be lucky enough to have a friend who will call us when they need someone at 3am. Such a meaningful tribute. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  47. Elle says:

    Adam – thank you for that raw, profound and moving piece, written with such bravery at what must feel like a time of insane pain. I feel so touched to read of your intimate connection with Sam. His writings moved and changed me and made me feel more human – as does reading your post tonight. Grief is a wild ride and changes you forever. Don’t let anyone tell you how to do it or to be strong in it. Do it just the way you need to, for however long you need to, to honour and continue loving this beautiful man, your mate. With loving wishes to you and to all that knew and loved him. x

  48. Sean says:

    My thoughts are with you Adam. Sam will live on until the last person stops thinking about him and that will never happen, Sam made sure of that. Take care and keep scrolling through that phonebook.

  49. Alison Richardson says:

    I read the piece about sleeping with his daughter and was greatly moved by the honesty and love – just as I was touched by your piece today in SMH.

  50. How do we write, as men, about the “Sam” in all our lives? How do we wrap our heads around the reality of losing a mate, who was as beside us as a favourite jumper?

    At what point do we men actually stop and do a stock-take of our emotions, write up any that are missing and go looking for them, and check the quality and usability of those that are there, and seek ways to express them?

    The loss of a mate is a forever loss and a forever missed, but there is always the joy we take from having known that mate, for however long, and the capacity we have for recall allows a tear, but there is usually a smile following, simply because mateship isn’t all about the now and the loss, it seems far more bout the then, and the memories that are now all we have of those we have lost.

    Have a beer for him Adam, and good on you for noting that there is a lot to being and having a mate.

  51. Libby B-B says:

    A moving tribute Adam. I didn’t know Sam well, but always thought he was a lovely guy, and his columns over the years confirmed it. So very, very sad.

  52. Lachlan says:

    Adam – just read your piece in Fairfax and clicked on the blog link. Unbelievable. Not sure if it’s the morning caffeine hitting the bloodstream or the sentiment of your words, perhaps a little of both – but its cut through to me. I had an ad-hoc email relationship with de Brito (which is nothing compared to the relationship you clearly shared), which culminated in he and I running into each other around Bondi on occasion. Our marriages broke down around the same time and we have daughters the same age, so I felt from that perspective we’d formed a strange connection. I’d went to one of his book launches a few years ago where after enthralling the audience for a few hours, he then greeted me like a long lost friend. Though I do not admit to having a close personal relationship with Sam, he always responded in kind to my emails (which I usually sent for the purpose of agreeing and congratulating him on a piece) and he always gave me a friendly wave whenever I saw him walking down Campbell Parade. Adam, you have my deepest and sincerest sympathies. You can’t pick your family and mates like Sam (I have one or two myself), don’t come along often. All the best, Lachlan

  53. Steven says:

    I am shocked and saddened to hear of Sam’s passing, I met him at News whilst working there, he was the kind of person you just wanted to know more about, a magnetic person, charming and friendly, and for that instantly likeable. RIP Sam. Steven Moore

  54. That photo of the two of you breaks my heart. Beautifully written, Gibbo.

  55. Brett D says:

    I don’t think I have ever been so upset about hearing of the death of someone I didn’t even know. Although I never knew Sam personally, through his writing I felt like I did. Reading his column was often the first thing I did on a Sunday, a kind of ritual with my first morning coffee. I had also read his books, enjoyable but tough reads due to their autobiographical nature.

    I didn’t always agree with Sam’s opinions, philosophies or whatever you want to call them, and as a previous commenter said I thought he sometimes came across as ‘up himself’. This all seemed to change however once he became a father. Kids can make you do that.

    What I liked about Sam was that he loved the footy, chasing tail and getting wrecked like the rest of us but he wasn’t afraid to talk about the issues that many of us men don’t have the balls to. Through his writing you could see that he was trying and succeeding at a better bloke and a good father.

    So why am I so upset? I guess it’s because I have a child of a similar age to Anoushka, and that I am a flawed individual and have been a taker of stupid risks too. It breaks my heart to think that he won’t be around for the little girl he loved so much, and that she will grow up without such a wonderful father. Time for me to grow up I think – to be a better bloke, husband and Dad.

    So sorry for your loss Adam. Rest in peace Sam.

  56. Graeme says:

    That was beautiful ….. That all.

  57. Julie Micallef says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your most private and touching thoughts . I looked forward every Sunday to Sam’s column, and his last touched me deeply. Can just picture him rolling over, hugging his little girl, giving a big sigh and knowing whatever came along, it was ok. I hope this out-pouring of thanks and admiration will ease the pain in times to come when thinking about the loss you all have been forced to confront. He was a terrific writer who provoked you to think beyond your biases, and look at another point of view. I regret not letting him know that.

  58. Samantha Venables says:

    A beautiful tribute and a great photo, Adam. I remember working with you both at ninemsn. Deepest condolences. Take care.

  59. Adam, I read your piece yesterday but just wanted to say how sorry I am for your loss. I often disagreed with Sam but he was just so likeable in person. And though I only met him a few times, I can tell you that he talked about his daughter every single time.
    Your words were a beautiful tribute. K x

  60. Rose says:

    In tears as I read the sad news, more tears reading your article today in SMH, detailing a true friendship, so beautifully expressed. Such a terrible loss for all.

  61. picturesongs says:

    Hey Adam. Beautiful. Your words reveal you hung out a lot together – through strange osmosis – you both talk with same nuance, rhythm, vocab. I almost felt like I could happily read your point of view in the media as replacement. I chatted to Sam a few times and he even wrote a column on my art and used my illos which I was very flattered. But I think him introducing me to David Foster Wallace through his writing, who also died at 46 has sent my imagination roaring.

    Darby

  62. Julie Nance says:

    Sam was lucky to have you in his life Adam and he’d be so proud of the beautiful way you described your friendship. Your piece brought back so many memories too of the old News Ltd days – the Evening Star, the rush of adrenalin covering police rounds and the great lunches we shared while on the Sunday Tele.

    I really enjoyed catching up with you at the News Ltd reunion a couple of years back and also with Sam who I can still picture so clearly leaning against a doorway chatting to me enthusiastically for half an hour about his little girl and how she had changed his life. When I read his last column about co-sleeping with children I thought – why the hell didn’t we do that with our boys – so much less angst and much more sleep? Sam’s words had such an impact. I just couldn’t believe a day after reading that column the shocking news came through that he was no longer with us. So sad. You take care of yourself Adam – I’m thinking of you xx

    • afgibson says:

      Thanks so much Jules. That reunion was important for all of us, and even more so in light of this. Many people from that era have gone on to significant roles in the media and other aspects, but Sam really was a shining light. Whether one agreed with him or not, or whether he pissed people off or not, he sure as hell made an impact. We are all struggling but at least those ex News people all have that connection and can remember some amazingly fun and good times. Catch you soon. Adam

  63. Ian Powell says:

    Hi Adam – thanks stranger for your piece on Sam d B. Found it in the Herald. I’m an ex-atheist and sometimes had my attention drawn to Sam’s work by my orthodox atheist mates. He asked some vital questions, would have liked to spend a few hours having respectful earnest playful arguments with him. The more i read of him the more i felt this guy is clever, thoughtful, brave, tender. I’m an old git but i put two things up on fb for my 2 friends to read when i heard of his death – at first i thought he was playing a prank, and then the sad reality of death sunk in. I felt sorry for him and then especially for his much loved now half-orphaned daughter. How could he die – he always looked so strong – silly though natural thought, though i speak at funerals a bit and know how death keeps shocking us when its the one thing that shouldn’t.
    Anyhow – sorry about the rave – but thanks for your writings about the writer and friend. It is sadly rare to find one true friend – glad that in you he had one and you in him. Sad also that death always seem to have the last word on everything that matters

  64. Nick says:

    Was an avid reader of his AMAL blog a few years back, always impressed with how he came up with three mostly interesting articles every week. Good sense of humour thrown in and he was like a mate that you never met. I also read both his novels, found the Lost Boys a great read as I grew up around the same time in Newcastle with similar experiences.

    A few months ago I sent him some research on a returned WW1 veteran, a day or so later he replied and said he may use it in an article down the track. Not sure if he ever got around to it but Sam was the only reason I read the SMH. He just wrote what he thought and showed some balls in putting material about himself(and others) in print that most people wouldn’t have the courage to do. Obviously got him into trouble plenty of times but he didn’t seem to care which was one of his greatest traits in my opinion.

    Just like to wish Sam’s friends and family all the best during a very sad time, I never met or spoke to the bloke but when reading on Monday about his death I had tears in my eyes for the first time in around twenty years.

    Rest easy Sam, you made a difference..

  65. al says:

    the wild geese by mary oliver

    You do not have to be good.
    You do not have to walk on your knees
    for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
    You only have to let the soft animal of your body
    love what it loves.
    Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
    Meanwhile the world goes on.
    Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
    are moving across the landscapes,
    over the prairies and the deep trees,
    the mountains and the rivers.
    Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
    are heading home again.
    Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
    the world offers itself to your imagination,
    calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
    over and over announcing your place
    in the family of things.

  66. Lisa G says:

    Beautiful Adam. Xx

  67. al says:

    “I count myself in nothing else so happy,
    As in a soul remembering my good friends.”
    Bill Shakespeare.

  68. al says:

    adam, you don’t remember me from news ltd because we never really talked.
    i am in warsaw poland now and my heart, my soul and all that spiritual crap were rent on monday.
    (i’ve posted twice before this, thank you for not deleting me.)

    this, my last, post is an idea (in deference to rod morri) but extended.

    it is 1989, you, we, all of us are at news ltd, and there’s a bet, you have got to put everything on it:

    the bet is this: it is 1989, of all the people you know, who will live forever?

    i would have staked my 1977 honda civic on it being sam.

    i’m devastroyed all the way over here in warsaw.
    i won’t even attempt to empathise with you, coz your life-crushing hurt is unimaginable,
    just know, i loved sam and his man-hug told me i was ok in his books, too.
    [it turns out, my sister is a fan of your writing, but doesn’t remember sam at our mum’s funeral.]

    this shit is not right.

  69. Heidi says:

    Thanks Adam.

    When I heard the news on Monday I was driving a client home from hospital, a woman who suffers various mental and physical disabilities resulting from DV who I’d only met that day. I started freaking out saying oh my god oh my god over and over and totally lost my bearings. Gave her a shock. I never met Sam, only personal contact I had with him was a few thoughtful replies to my emails over the years. But I felt like the news reader had just announced one of my closest friends was dead. I wasn’t a huge fan of his fiction but I loved his other writing, his honesty, openness, his depth. I honestly and secretly believed he was a genius. I too felt angry at his critics because to me it seemed so obvious that they misunderstood his good intentions. I was so happy when he fell in love and had a baby, and I’d been looking forward to this happening again, I kept expecting it to the last few years. I can’t believe that now that hope is zero. A few times a day, or upon waking at night, I remember that he is dead but I can’t really get my head around it. I’ve had close family members die . .that was also surreal but I would never have expected to experience this disbelief over someone I don’t know. But how can a mind like his just be suddenly gone like that?? There are plenty of great Australian writers but there is no one like him.


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