I was impressed with myself—I was able to be drift alone and not be overwhelmed with social anxiety. That day, I agreed (after a friend’s persistence) to accompany him to tubing down Russian River. With more than 50 of us, we launched from a beach in our inner tubes, most were packed with ample beer, weed and mineral water. Most people held onto each other—forming large floats almost like the trash in the Pacific.
Not particularly finding anyone interesting, I was content to float by myself. Sure, there was the ihatepeoplehelping me feeling, but in general, I just didn’t feel like conversing with anybody. I wanted to put my head back, close my eyes and float soundlessly down the slow moving river. Admittingly, I kept floating into the banks with branches and rocks. On my own, I needed to independently push myself away.
Interrupting my thoughts, a guy—in his early twenties and the kind that lived to wear a popped collar—paddled next to me. He had departed his “floatilla” of 10 and came toward me. I had just pushed myself away from a floating log and now was floating down the current.
Instead of an expected friendly greeting, the first words out of his mouth were, “I don’t like your individualistic tendencies.”
I shook my head at the disappointing conversation starter and explained my contentment of my independent floating. Somehow small talk turned into what we did for a living.
“I am going to be a writer,” I declared, not hesitating this time for a stranger.
“You can’t be just a writer,” he said. “You need to have a goal.”
“You have to write for something. You can’t just be a writer.”
Inside silently, I scoffed at his comments. Artists can be artists without having a goal. The act of making art is perhaps a goal. The act of creating is what drives me—to share my ideas and my perspective with the world
Instead, I admitted, “Not copywriting or technical writing, but writing. A book.”
“Well, good luck.”
After that, I let the current carry us apart. He returned to his floatilla while I floated on my own again—banging into logs and rocks. I got stuck in a shallow area and needed to maneuver out of it on my own—standing on the stony pebbles with my bare feet.