For the years I spent working on it, 'Constellation' was the only novel I knew how to write, so maybe I still abided by the maxim? Regardless, I prefer the maxim: Write what you want to know, rather than what you already know.
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APAAnthony Marra Quotes. (n.d.). Jar of Quotes. Retrieved , from JarofQuotes.com Web site: https://www.jarofquotes.com/view.php?id=for-years-i-spent-working-on-it-constellation-was-only-novel-i-knew-how-to-write-maybe-i-still-abided-by-maxim-regardless-i-prefer-maxim-write-what-you-want-to-know-rather-than-w
ChicagoAnthony Marra Quotes. Jar of Quotes, 2019. https://www.jarofquotes.com/view.php?id=for-years-i-spent-working-on-it-constellation-was-only-novel-i-knew-how-to-write-maybe-i-still-abided-by-maxim-regardless-i-prefer-maxim-write-what-you-want-to-know-rather-than-w, accessed .
MLA"Anthony Marra Quotes." Jar of Quotes, 2019. . https://www.jarofquotes.com/view.php?id=for-years-i-spent-working-on-it-constellation-was-only-novel-i-knew-how-to-write-maybe-i-still-abided-by-maxim-regardless-i-prefer-maxim-write-what-you-want-to-know-rather-than-w
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If he had the cleft tongue of a devil, or the snake hair of a Medusa, or the matted hair of a wolf-monster, Akhmed might understand. But Ramazan had two eyes, a nose, and a mouth, pairs of arms and legs and ears, hair greasy, but not slimy and certainly not slithering, and Akhmed did not understand.
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The past few months have been the most serene of his adult life. The megalopolis in his mind has quieted to a country road. He does his work, he eats his bread, and he sleeps with the knowledge that today hasn't added to the sum of human misery. For now at least it's peace of a kind he hadn't imagined himself worthy of receiving.
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She praised his book and he embraced her from gratitude rather than lust, but she didn't let go. Neither did he. She kissed his cheek, his earlobe. For months they'd run their fingers around the hem of their affection without once acknowledging the fabric. The circumference of the world tightened to what their arms encompassed. She sat on the desk, between the columns of read and unread manuscript, and pulled him toward her by his index fingers.
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She ate quickly. Hunger was a sensation so long situated in his abdomen he felt it as he would an inflamed organ. He took his time, tonguing the pulp into a little oval and resting it against his cheek like a lozenge. If the bread wouldn't fill his stomach, it might at least fill his mouth. The girl had finished half of hers before he took a second bite. "You shouldn't rush'" he said. "There are no taste buds in your stomach." She paused to consider his reasoning, then took another bite. "There's no hunger in your tongue, " she mumbled between chews. Her cupped hand caught the crumbs and tossed them back in her mouth.
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The look on his face told her what had happened and that hurt burrowed deeper than anything she'd ever felt, deep enough to change from the thing she felt to the thing she was. Love, she learned, could reduce its recipient to an essential thing, as important as food or shelter, whose presence is not only longed for but needed.
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The missing remained missing and the portraits couldn't change that. But when Akhmed slid the finished portrait across the desk and the family saw the shape of that beloved nose, the air would flee the room, replaced by the miracle of recognition as mother, father, sister, brother, aunt, and cousin found in that nose the son, brother, nephew, and cousin that had been, would have been, could have been, and they might race after the possibility like cartoon characters dashing off a cliff, held by the certainty of the road until they looked down - and plummeted is the word used by the youngest brother who, at the age of sixteen, is tired of being the youngest and hopes his older brother will return for many reasons, not least so he will marry and have a child and the youngest brother will no longer be youngest; that youngest brother, the one who has nothing to say about the nose because he remembers his older brother's nose and doesn't need the nose to mean what his parents need it to mean, is the one who six months later would be disappeared in the back of a truck, as his older brother was, who would know the Landfill through his blindfold and gag by the rich scent of clay, as his older brother had known, whose fingers would be wound with the electrical wires that had welded to his older brother's bones, who would stand above a mass grave his brother had dug and would fall in it as his older brother had, though taking six more minutes and four more bullets to die, would be buried an arm's length of dirt above his brother and whose bones would find over time those of his older brother, and so, at that indeterminate point in the future, answer his mother's prayer that her boys find each other, wherever they go; that younger brother would have a smile on his face and the silliest thought in his skull a minute before the first bullet would break it, thinking of how that day six months earlier, when they all went to have his older brother's portrait made, he should have had his made, too, because now his parents would have to make another trip, and he hoped they would, hoped they would because even if he knew his older brother's nose, he hadn't been prepared to see it, and seeing that nose, there, on the page, the density of loss it engendered, the unbelievable ache of loving and not having surrounded him, strong enough to toss him, as his brother had, into the summer lake, but there was nothing but air, and he'd believed that plummet was as close as they would ever come again, and with the first gunshot one brother fell within arms' reach of the other, and with the fifth shot the blindfold dissolved and the light it blocked became forever, and on the kitchen wall of his parents' house his portrait hangs within arm's reach of his older brother's, and his mother spends whole afternoons staring at them, praying that they find each other, wherever they go.
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