Dream Of Katrina
I still dream of Katrina. And the way the dream comes to me is — well, I am sleeping and all of a sudden I’m in the middle of the ocean. And I look left, no land, right, forward and so on, and I see the ocean water rising, coming my way, bellowing, exactly the way the water was bellowing on August 29. And just as the thing — and the water is up to my neck, and just as that thing is about to submerge me, I wake up sweating and I’m shouting.1 That is a monster, I’m still breaking. Some people are saying “You should see an expert”. I say no, no, no. I’ve diagnosed myself, I don’t think, I know why it’s happening that way. So, these negative side — oh yeah, the positive, oh yeah.
As Shakespeare would say, “Sweet are the uses of adversity, which like the toad, ugly and venomous, wears yet a precious jewel on his head.” And I’m linking Shakespeare now, a man I admire so much, with — I’m linking his wisdom with the wisdom of the Yoruba people. The Yoruba people would say, “No matter how dark the sky may be, look very well between or beyond the clouds, you’re likely to see some light.” Nothing so bad ever comes without a streak of laughter about it. Katrina taught me many lessons, as I said in that book. The first one — I have never been a materialistic person. In fact, many people say I am puritan.
Well, I don’t know why I should have three things when one can do, but since Katrina I have become even more cautious. Before I buy anything now, I think long and deep.2 If I have to move in a hurry, how will I be able to carry this? And it comes just naturally to me, even when I’m in Nigeria, it does come. That’s one way — call it my humanist-socialist impulse, it strengthened it. And another way Katrina strengthened it is through the kind of kindness that my family and I enjoyed from American people and from people all over the world. I didn’t know we had so many friends. As I said in the Katrina poems, people are my clothes.