Please, Don’t Delete It
I recently found a poem that you've written. When you wrote it, I distinctly remember that you felt the need to keep it to yourself. In fact, I remember that you planned to delete it, but eventually didn't get around to doing so. And thank god for that, because then I wouldn't have stumbled across it.
After finding this poem, I was reminded of another poem that you'd written. It was called "Effortless", and I remember that you'd never finished it. In fact, all I remember of the poem is a single stanza and a blinking cursor. You deleted that one. But maybe if you hadn't, I'd have remembered more of it. Who knows, maybe I'd have finished it.
All that thinking about unfinished poems sent me down a rabbit hole of nostalgia, making me search for pieces of writing that I hadn't revisited in a while. I found a lot of unfinished storylines, incomplete characters, and sentences that stopped midway. And you know what I did? I continued writing them.
Sure, once you write a story as a seventeen-year-old, it isn't going to be the same story you planned on writing as a fourteen-year-old, but nevertheless, I edited and rephrased. Your incomplete thoughts acted as the fodder for my written material. I haven't had a writing spree like that in ages. The kind where you don't feel like the work is yours; instead, it feels like you're just a medium that ideas are flowing through. The kind where your hands feel numb and alive simultaneously. The kind where it seems like you're in a trance, but still completely aware. It's weirdly paradoxical, but most of the best things are.
And sure, the end results were far from the intention with which you'd begun writing these pieces, but nevertheless, it was surreal and liberating. It felt like a weird metaphor for life: you have an idea of where you'll end up, sometimes incredibly specific, but as you grow and mature, you end up somewhere completely different. It isn't what you expected when you started, but it's still perfect.
The satisfaction that I felt, after piecing together those morsels of creativity that you'd left behind, was irreplaceable. It made me grateful that you never deleted them, like that incomplete poem. And maybe I won't publish the final product of that euphoric out-of-body experience I had, but maybe three or four years down the line, I'll stumble across these stories and publish them, motivated by a sense of pride.
The same sense of pride that motivated me to publish the very poem I almost deleted three years ago. Thank you for not deleting that, by the way. Oh, and please, never delete anything ever again.
You, just a little bit older.