This is Martian Tom to Ground Control...

I'm stepping through the door

And I'm floating in a most peculiar way

And the stars look very different today...

 

It's nice up here.  No one around.  Just me and Astro-cat.

I thought I'd drop in with a few words before I lose radio contact.  Things are okay.  Take-off on New Year's Day was a bit turbulent.  But once I shook off the earth's gravitational pull, things began to feel better.

Day 13 without any form of mind-altering substances - except caffeine.  At last, I'm beginning to get some clarity.  I'm between planets job-wise - but I can see the light of the new one, twinkling in the near-distance ahead.

I went for a little space-walk yesterday, and what did I happen to see floating by?  A DVD, long-lost from someone else's ship.  It was one I'd been meaning to watch for many years, too, but never had.  So I went back in and settled down with it...

The Hurricane stars Denzel Washington - my all-time favourite actor.  It's based on the life of Rubin 'The Hurricane' Carter, the black American-Canadian middle-weight boxer who was wrongly-convicted in the '60s of a triple homicide and sentenced to three life sentences.  The original trial was a travesty of justice, blighted by racial prejudice and police corruption.  Many knew of his innocence, but said nothing, or told lies.  It was a cause célèbre at the time.  Prominent people fought his corner over the injustice.  Muhammad Ali.  Ellen Burstyn.  Bob Dylan wrote a famous song, Hurricane, about the case.  Rubin took on a different fight in prison.  Knowing himself to be innocent, he refused to wear prison clothes, to take jobs, to eat with other prisoners.  At night, he stayed awake in thought while the others slept.  He kept to his cell.  He took up reading, absorbing the classics of literature - especially the literature of struggle.  W E DuBois.  Frederick Douglass.  Richard Wright.  James Baldwin.  Booker T Washington.  He read Zola, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy.  He read spiritual works, too - including Jiddu Krishnamurti's The Awakening  of Intelligence.  He had an awakening of his own.  He found a sense of stoicism and a certain peace that enabled him to bear his incarceration.  He 'escaped' his physical prison through the medium of his mind.  He wrote his autobiography, too, on a manual typewriter he had in his cell.  The Sixteenth Round was published in 1975 and remains in print. He served almost 20 years before the sentence was finally overturned in 1985, following the disclosure of fresh evidence that proved the corruption.  Upon his release, he devoted himself to the cause of the wrongly-convicted.  In 1993, he was awarded an honorary championship title belt from the World Boxing Council.  It's an uplifting film.  A timeless story of courage in adversity, and eventual triumph against the odds.  A story of survival, and of hope.  The moral is clear and simple: when you know truth is on your side, don't give up the fight for it.  Persevere.  A worthwhile thing for me to bear in mind right now.

So, 2019...

I'm 60 in May.  The last two decades haven't been the easiest.  But they've enabled me to find out many things about myself - not least of which has been the secret I've had inside me all of my life without even knowing about it myself until 4 years ago.  My autism.  Since that diagnosis, I've had an ambivalent attitude to it.  Mostly I've seen it as my gift.  Other times, such as more recently, I've seen it as my burden.

I'm back to seeing it as my gift.  Maybe the changes that have happened recently have enabled me to see the light in it.  I'll try my best to keep it shining now.  I want to get back to doing some writing, which I've been putting off for far too long.  Some reading, too.  I want to see what other secrets I can discover.

A new decade of my life.  A new job.  And maybe a new insight.

Meantime....

Here am I floating in my tin can

Far above the world.

Planet Earth is blue

And I've so much left to do...

Farewell for now, my friends.  Go well on your own trips.  And thank you for your support and friendship.

Love,

Tom xx