Another fruitless day in search of something that should be there, but cannot be found. Another dead end to scratch off my list of what could have been and might have been but is no longer visible, or without enough substance to substantiate.
I guess it goes without saying that this is fairly common for the type of work that I am doing, even though the work itself can hardly be called common.
If it was something easy, like writing up something that has already been proven and accepted, I would have so many pieces of resources to look at that it would be akin to writing up a simple, documented report. When the subject matter is so esoteric and/or so freaking old that material is difficult to come by, I then have to hunt and scrounge for tidbits of scattered clues everywhere.
Some rare scraps are written in books that are so old that even after having scoured the internet looking for them, they cannot be obtained because they are out of print and there are no available copies to be had.
In other cases, all I can do is look, longingly at titles that promise a gem of truth, but the book in question exists only in a library that I have no access to, such as one found in huge universities that do no inter-library loans. Since I am neither student nor alumni of said libraries, the books are forever out of reach.
And then there are times when an amazing book only exists in another country, and is written in German, or Sumerian, or Hanzi, some such arcane language that I cannot read. It might as well be from outer space, as accessible as that is.
Heck, even some ancient Vietnamese books are quite often, out of reach for me, even with multiple trips back to my homeland in futile attempts to locate the material.
Don’t even get me started on material that’s transcribed from binary codes. Or mathematical equations. Or worse yet…alien scripts that have never been able to be decoded, like this amazing, colorful book filled with pictures of plants and star systems, written in long-hand, words that do not exist in any known Earth language.
The Voynich Manuscript, carbon-dated to the 1400s
But it’s not just books. Written material that had been posted online, quite often disappear, sometimes overnight. It’s not good enough to save links to documents and articles. There have been numerous times when I would go back to a link and it would be dead.
I actually have to utilize a wiki that has been created specifically for my needs, that lives on my own server located inside my house. I then have to do the laborious, painstaking job of documenting, sorting, filing hundreds upon hundreds of pages of information to be used as source documentation.
I swear. I sometimes feel like a starving grad student, pushing on wind mills for no reason other than the work needs to be done, and knowing that none of this work will ever result in any PhD.
When I hit such stumbling blocks, I do one of two things. I go to the local chicken place and order up a large basket of southern fried chicken to fortify myself, and then I go get a large latte to drown my sorrows.
Or I go fill up a bath tub with some hot water, add some scented oil, light a couple of candles, and go into meditative bathe mode. How long I stay in depends on how much cold I can handle. When it gets too cold, my meditation time is over.
And then I’m back to the grindstone again.