“Where do you start?”

” Some people make promises.  Bob Kanegis delivers!”

You can quote Jerry Brown, the once and future(?) Governor of California on that .  In the 90’s Jerry went through a period when he described himself as a ‘recovering politician.’  He bought a fairly large building in Oakland- close to the downtown waterfront and turned it into his house and a community meeting space.  One of the great features of the place was what became known as the Oakland table, where wonderful meals and conversations took place on matters shallow and deep.  On the very deep end was a 10 or 12 session study group that met weekly to plumb the meaning and implications of Martin Buber’s classic, I and Thou.  I’d heard that this group was forming through my friend Tom, and together we drove down to the We The People Building to introduce ourselves to Jerry and see if we could join the group.

Someone found Jerry, told him of our presence. He came right down to meet us.
Jerry and Tom shook hands and Jerry asked Tom what he did.  When Tom replied that he taught philosophy, Jerry seemed almost to pounce on him with questions.

“You teach philosophy?  Tell me. Where do you start?  Do you start with the Pre-Socratics?  Do you start with Plato? With the Cave?

As the questions kept coming I became increasingly wary of what was in store for me?  I decided that what was needed was some sort of preemptive move.
So I moved forward prepared.  I stuck out my paw, and said, “ HI, I’m Bob Kanegis.  I’m a storyteller.  I start with Once Upon A Time.”

Tom and I were invited to join the study group.  This was during the time that I have come to call my Dung Beetle Initiation.  For seven years, as I was simultaneously developing my storytelling craft and business,  I drove my small dump truck and  delivered , tons of rich compost  to thousands and thousands of small yards and gardens all over the Bay Area.  My first contribution to the study group was not a clever interpretation of  a Buber passage.  It was  3 or 4 cubic yards of Walt Whitman Blend, organic compost, deposited in the driveway and hauled up in buckets to the rooftop garden of the We The People building.  I promised I’d bring it and so I did.  “Bob Kanegis delivers.”  Perhaps there’s a place for a storyteller in the next Jerry Brown administration.


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