#199 – The Tale of the Artist and the Mathematician

“It’s not that I think it’s not possible,” Dylan explained to his younger sister, Alyssa. “I’ve done the math enough to know it’s not possible.” Alyssa was sketching again, and he was meant to leave her alone while she was sketching. But their parents were downstairs in the garden and weren’t around to hear Dylan’s bedroom door creak open or listen as he stomped his way from his bedroom to her studio. Ignoring her older brother​ had become a skill requiring nearly as much dedication as sketching itself. “You can draw your emotions all you like,” he taunted, “but you can’t dance around the facts. You’re never, ever going to be famous, little sister.”

Alyssa and Dylan were aware that most people didn’t live like their family, and it wasn’t just the fact that they lived in the largest house in Greenvale, it was also how they chose to spend their time in that house. Dylan didn’t love to just count the numbers, he loved what you could do with the numbers. His bedroom window overlooked the valleys and mountains below, and, one morning, he watched the crows fly from one tree to another. By mid-morning, he was able to predict which crow would fly next, where it would fly and how many wing-flaps it would take to get there. Just as he predicted, very few people were impressed with such a feat, so he tried to move on from analysing birds to making more personal connections for those around him. His mother and father were forced to ask him to stop continuously making predictions about the family that were becoming increasingly accurate.

Alyssa’s room was at the opposite end of the upstairs area of the house and, next to that, was her art studio. Once the studio was complete, Alyssa’s mother informed her that it was not her studio, but the family’s studio. Over time, however, everyone in the family gradually accepted that the room now belonged to Alyssa and they agreed that, should anyone​ be occupying the studio, then it was essential that they be left alone. This was Alyssa’s suggestion of course and, for the first two weeks, it worked. “An artist needs a space to become so absorbed in their art, that they forget about reality,” she told them. Recently, however, Dylan was able to calculate when his mother and father wouldn’t be able to hear him and, all of sudden, he was backwards and forwards between his room and the studio just to show off his calculation skills. 

“That’s not something you can know,” Alyssa attempted to inform her brother while continuing to focus on her artwork. “You can’t calculate whether or not I’m going to be famous. There are too many variables.”
“You don’t even know what a variable is,” Dylan replied. “But, I’m not about to explain to you how I worked it out, or how any of this works out for you,” he made his way over to the three-seater leather couch in the studio and made himself comfortable.
“What do you want, anyway?” Alyssa asked her brother impatiently.
“I want you to realise what a waste of time all this “drawing” and that the real beauty is in numbers.
“You know, that’s the great thing about being an artist,” Alyssa responded while turning her easel around, revealing an admirable drawing of her brother in the exact position in which he now sat. “You can always create something that even the greatest mind wasn’t able to think of.” Alyssa smiled as she watched her brother’s jaw drop and she held an easer up to her sketch. “Not to mention the fact that you can get rid of anything you don’t like.”
“Wait!” Dylan yelled, but it was too late. Alyssa rubbed the lines from the picture until there was no trace of her brother left, leaving only a beautifully drawn sketch of a couch.

Alyssa looked down at the empty couch and chuckled to herself. “Now,” she said to no-one in particular. “Let’s see what happens when I draw a far nicer older brother, this time.”

My name is Gregg Savage and, every night when the house is quiet, I write and publish a free children’s story at dailytales.com.au for you to share and enjoy.


Illustrations by Alisha Towers: FACEBOOK

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

13 thoughts on “#199 – The Tale of the Artist and the Mathematician

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  1. Another wonderful story! Gregg, have you heard of this site: https://fairytalez.com/blog/launches-self-publishing-feature/ and it is free to publish there. I am going to join. My little stories are quaint, still need polishing, and are for children like my story, “Bella, the Winter Mouse”, and I do draw the art (I use that term loosely), that goes with the story, but nothing to compare the wonderful illustrations and stories that you write. I am assuming you do your own illustrations? They are awesome, and beautifully done.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, KD! I haven’t heard of that but I’ll definitely check it out when I get the chance! I have an illustrator by the name of Alisha Towers. She’s very talented and I’m very lucky.


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