This article is part of the The Great Authors Series series.


To me, a thirteen-year-old Black girl, halted by Southern life, deprived of anything digital bespoke, I saw the MakerBot as a manifestation of freedom. It was a long-held breath, released at last, drawn in again cool and clean and tickled with that peculiar smell of ABS filament. Here we are, I thought, a promise so forsaken it had near become a lie was unexpectedly kept. Granted like a wish. Freedom.

Customizable Horn


There was a time in evening, before the night stirred up and made its own song, when the radio played and mother danced. Every feeling put into her that day was present like a scarf hung on her body. She turned and turned and never without purpose, but never the same way twice. I could close my eyes and see her again and wonder, what if a horn played? Not any horn, but a horn of my exact choosing. A horn as specific to me as my frown or laugh. That sits on the table by the gray potbelly stove like somebody kicked in the side of a tin geranium planter. She would probably stop dancing and laugh herself sick.

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