Sometimes it feels as though clinic life can be all-consuming, and patients sometimes even make appearances in my dreams! It’s so important for me to have activities outside of work, and rather recently I found a new one. For some thirty-odd years, my father would play guitar and sing Russian folks songs on the first Saturday night of every month at an open mic in New Orleans. To this day, my mother and I are not entirely sure what possessed him to keep returning to the Neutral Ground Coffee House every single month! It is by no means a large or prestigious venue; I once saw a maximum of twenty-five people crammed in through its doors, but that was an extreme outlier. Some nights it would literally be just my family in the audience. But it was a beautiful thing to behold him strumming his heart out on the songs that were my lullabies growing up.
Though it was always my father, not me, who would seek out open mics, I decided to give it a try in his honor. Since I don’t possess his legendary guitar skills, I use my voice as my instrument. I write and perform my own raps, all of which in some way or another pay homage to him. And for each open mic night, I invite friends from college, vet school, and various other life circumstances to come and watch. In the days before social distancing guidelines were in place, it felt so nice to bring people together, have their support, and watch them befriend one another. Though a lot has changed over the last year, I continue to write…and soon hope to get back on the stage. In the meantime, feel free to check out my performance at the Lizard Lounge last September!