The Paris Review

How Like the Mind It Is

When Martha Graham was a child, she often visited her father’s office after work hours. One such day, she climbed on a pile of books so she could see the top of her father’s desk, where he was looking at a drop of water on a glass slide. When he asked her what she saw, she described it as “pure water.” He slipped the slide under the lens of a microscope, and she peered once more through the lens. “But there are wriggles in it,” she said in horror.

“Yes, it is impure,” he replied. “Just remember this all your life, Martha. You must look for the truth—good, bad, or unsettling.”

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