an excerpt from the novel "Saramé"
by Maria Tuttle

from Javier Huerta's introduction:

"What we have in this chapbook, in this first chapter, is an introduction to Saramé. Our young singer makes her opera debut. Our author manages to introduce Saramé to her readers by introducing her character to the society of opera. What we have are three levels of story: the historical archives, the fictional narrative, and the Tosca opera. Throughout, the novel brilliantly moves from one to the other to the other in order to provide a complete portrait of Saramé. After reading this first chapter, one desires to know much more of our young singer."

Chapter One: Rehearsal

"This will be the event of the week. I just know it," Marmar said, pulling closed her driving coat. "Darling Sara you look so well tonight. Yes. Good, just enough rouge to make you look alive, sure to impress the McNary's especially that Matilda McNary. Have you prepared your pieces? Of course you have. I am not worried at all. Come on. Let's not keep Daddy waiting." Nervous Marmar. How she had grown used to her fluttering, her fuss. She wished that she could grab her by the sleeve pull her down to the ground and hold her there. Tell her that she looked so pretty, and that she wanted to do well, but could not. Not tonight, Marmar. She wanted to stay home, in her room and look at herself, but no, not tonight because tonight she would be chased out.

Saramé followed her mother to the car, feeling bad, hating what was to come. John was already in the backseat, not speaking to Daddy who was waiting with the car running. She climbed in and watched her mother pull in the train of her gown. She lifted it up over the step and tucked it in just under the seat. From where Saramé was sitting, she could see the white satin creep towards her, wanting to touch her. John smiled at her and then she felt him grab her hand. Just a small squeeze, but it was enough to make her feel better. Did he know how much she hated this, hated performing for Marmar? She might drop a note. She might forget her music. She might let herself float away. Did they know how difficult it was to keep her voice from slipping? She was thankful for John. Her brother never showed signs of breaking. She knew that somewhere inside him, he felt the same need to flee, to jump on the train that cut through the desert to the mountains. She liked thinking of him in the mountains. He belonged there. John must know that, she thought, leaning on him as Daddy pulled the car to the main road.

Maria Tuttle was born on the 2nd of May 1974 in Bogotá, Colombia. Her mother, Elvia Gladys, immigrated to Cincinnati, Ohio, leaving Maria in Colombia for a period of time. Maria immigrated to Cincinnati as a young child, eventually becoming a naturalized citizen. She attended Anderson High School, graduating in 1992. She entered the Art Academy of Cincinnati that same year, earning a BFA in painting and art history in 1997. Maria entered the writing program at the University of Cincinnati where she earned an MA in comparative literature in 2002. She has worked as a fine art book editor for a midsize publishing company, but knew that she wanted to further her writing education. Within a year of earning her MA, Maria applied to and was accepted by the Bilingual Creative Writing Program at the University of Texas at El Paso where she earned an MFA in creative writing and border studies in 2005. She left El Paso and now resides in Oakland, CA and is currently working at Los Medanos College in Pittsburg, California as an English professor. She is also the director of the Puente Program, a program designed to assist under-represented students to transfer to 4-year colleges and universities.