Monday, August 06, 2012

work-in-progress, part π of 4: despair.

as i said before, this was the day when i learned there was something else in the preprint to patch. i didn't take it too well ..

// originally written: thurs, 26 july 2012 //

at some point i felt like giving up. i feel that way now. every time i try a patch i either find a hole in it later or i go back to another part of the manuscript and something else is wrong.

layers atop layers, patches upon patches,
water's still spilling in this leaky old boat.

i'm tired. it all seemed like such a good idea at the time, but it's gotten so ugly and i can't stand the thought of a simple idea — my simple idea — become this pockmarked thing:
bruised by technical details, carrying scars
from the surgical arguments that filled in earlier gaps.
i'm trying to make it simple: simple and clean. it's hard.

i can show you a highly technical statement that remains true, but it's not worth saying and wouldn't be worth writing down.

i feel like throwing away the result.

it was too much to hope for, anyway, and dangerous besides: it would have turned a perfectly good theorem into a tautology, sullied a very compelling proof that is quickly becoming a kind of template, a meta-argument.

it's late in the evening and i want to sleep, give it another go tomorrow.
things always look better in the morning, right?

i'm worried, though, that if i don't go to bed with a good idea, then i'll have nothing to try first thing in the morning. a bad start might ruin the effort, and i'll spend pages and pages, making desperate kinds of estimates and computations, draw many diagrams only to scratch them out after a few moments.

i want to sleep. i can't.

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