"The Best American Essays 1993 was published before I decided to pursue a PhD at my professors’ urging. Before I was accepted for the Film Studies program at Oklahoma State University in the fall of 1995. Before my boyfriend called in June of that same year to ask, 'PhD or me,' one month before our wedding in Dallas. Before I sat in the Lubbock airport bar, sipping a white wine (before I knew wine) and watching him shuffle toward me in a yellow shirt and maroon sweats to find in his face that the flight I had taken to Lubbock to change his mind had been a waste of energy and money.


"But for me, this is not about what BAE 1993 came before; it's about what came before it, something, something I’ve never written about: Best American Essays 1993 was published on November 22. Three days before, on November 19, I had an abortion.


"Once I looked up this edition’s publication date and remembered November 19th, I could not read these essays through any other lens, and so, I underlined passages for my twenty-three year old self, because 'certain moments in one’s life cast their influence forward over all the moments that follow.'"

Read Talbot's notes for her 23-year-old self here.

AuthorJohn Proctor