Because he was going to write something new.
Now, being the ADD-ish writer that I am, I totally understand how a new idea can trump an old one, and the passion for a new story can overwhelm the desire to finish one that has lost its luster.
But to throw it away? As in, toss it in the trash? Lose it forever?
The writer in me panics at the very notion. How can you so callously dispose of a little piece of your heart like that?
I told him to give it to me. I’m not going to let him throw it away.
I have saved most of my stories back to high school or so. Since I do first-drafts by hand (and also since I didn’t have unrestricted access to a computer back then) I have a whole binder with half-baked ideas in clear plastic sleeves. Some are potentially salvageable. Some are hidden in my brain that I know I wrote but the paper copy of which has been lost somewhere along the way. Some I don’t even recognize. All are nostalgic.
I can look at the romances I began and tell who I had a crush on at that period of my life. I can remember what was going on in my life, the emotions I was feeling as I poured them out onto the page.
My journey as a writer began long before I knew I was going to be a writer. Long before I knew what craft was or the art of storytelling. Long before I had any concept of the heartache and frustration that comes of pouring yourself into something only to have it rejected, over and over again.
So I will not let my son throw away his story. I will not let him waste all those hours, all that imagination. Even if he never goes back to this particular story, it’s important to have. He’ll want to look at it some day to see how far he’s come. He’ll want to have a record of all the things he’s done. He’ll want to remember what he was thinking and feeling at this stage in his life.
What about you? Do you have old drafts of things you’ve written? How do you keep those?