Friday, July 23, 2010


Dear Mr. Bat,

I'm feeling terribly frustrated... but I thought of another metaphor of sewing in mathematics, and that is assembling ideas. The trouble is that, when it comes to communicating mathematical ideas, it is, for me, an awful lot like sewing in the dark: you have access to the needle and thread (that's words you can string together) and can maybe feel the cloth --- if you have any notion of what ideas are common to your audience --- but you can't necessarily see how the patches are stitched together; that is, without some decent back-and-forth, you (I) can't tell how your (my) readers are holding their patches, where the seams end up, what's the shape of the final product, how neat the stitches are...

Sometimes I really fear I'm not that good a tailor afterall. Back to the candle-lit space that is my own head, for now; but I'm told there's nothing for the rest but practise.

the sidewalk apprentice teacher


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