Monday, April 18, 2011

On being a prime number

I saw a book title yesterday that caught my eye: The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano. I haven't read it, but the synopsis spoke of the people who are prime numbers:

Prime numbers are divisible only by 1 and themselves. They stand in their place, in the infinite series of natural numbers, squashed in between two others, like all other numbers, but a step further on than the rest. They are suspicious and solitary, which is why Mattia thought they were wonderful. Sometimes he thought that they had ended up in that sequence by mistake, that they'd been trapped like pearls on a necklace. At other times he suspected that they too would have liked to have been like all the others, just ordinary numbers, but for some reason they weren't capable of it.
I feel like a prime number sometimes, this last week particularly so. Sometimes I feel right with my "primeness", sometimes, like in the passage above, I achingly wish I could be like all of the other numbers. My week was difficult for many reasons that I won't bore you with, but I've been thinking about one thing. The artist from the workshop I attended said you should never paint the unique - leave it for photographs. The audience won't understand it. As a prime number, I am drawn to the unique, the things that stand alone. They are kindred spirits. There is no joy in drawing and painting the composite numbers for me. After last week I feel a tiny bit bruised, but am so very thankful for the dear handful of people that not only allow me to be a prime number but encourage it. Bruises heal and I have chosen to make them part of me in a good way, working towards the strength that prime numbers must have to survive. These photos are some of the images that caught my eye during the week. I'll leave you with a photo of me (as little of me as possible to give you scale), and a new friend - who is certainly a prime number! Have a wonderful week!


  1. I think prime numbers are the best numbers. :)

    And that is an amazing dog.

  2. I would have to agree with Kate. In fact, I think I came from a family that expected you to be a prime number and if you weren't you were not living. I love the prime numbers in my life.