Side Hustle & Bustle

I joined a new writing community called The Narrative Method (TNM), which is a nice change of pace in regards to agenda, structure, timing, and group dynamic. Whilst in the Zoom waiting room, a silent short video played on a loop explaining TNM’s mission statement, rules, and what to expect. The TNM Host was engaging, intelligently versed, and to-the-point. The one hour Zoom session was thoughtfully planned out to maximize the literary and interactive experience.

The TNM Host promptly commenced by greeting as many attendees as possible, then they quickly summarized their mission statement, rules, and what to expect. They briefly shared their screen with an image as inspiration (I was fast enough to take a screenshot for my reference), then they verbally announced the first writing prompt (as well as writing it in the Zoom chat) and we wrote silently for seven minutes. Once time was up, the TNM Host verbally announced the second writing prompt (as well as writing it in the Zoom chat), we again, wrote silently for another seven minutes. The TNM Host separated us in small Breakout groups, of 3 or 4 people for about 15mins, to share with one another.

We re-joined the entire group (of about 45people) and I believe the TNM Host stated that whomever would like to share the first sentence or their favorite sentence from their writing could do so by “raising their [Zoom] hand.” I didn’t hear this possible announcement or instruction, most likely due to technical difficulties, time delay, &/or because I am hard of hearing.

The first person to share asked: “Can I cuss?” and the TNM Host replied: “Fuck yes!” which tickled me more than it should have, haha! Another person who shared said: “I noticed my writing turned dark and I became uncomfortable so I just stopped writing, reading.” The TNM Host replied: “It’s okay that you felt that way! I, personally, like the dark because the depths is what’s real and rich. Embrace who you are!” Later the TNM Host said: “Share what’s inside you, if it offends someone.. [shrugs] ..oh well!” This was refreshing to hear because while I do understand the reasoning behind giving “trigger warnings” before sharing, I feel this somehow “censors” and prohibits creatives to fully express themselves. We should be able to create and share without boundaries. Without judgment. Let’s just color outside the lines! If you can’t be yourself here or there.. then where?!

The TNM Host was also open to hearing feedback in regards to suggestions to improve The Narrative Method writing sessions. There were quite a few attendees who commented on how the below inspiration photo was pixelated, fuzzy, blurry, difficult to decipher, etc. I quietly wrote in the Zoom chat that this added to the mystery of the corresponding writing prompts. This unclear image forces you to fill in the blanks. Some agreed with me. Others were neutral, I suppose. I wasn’t trying to sway anyone in particular, because everyone is entitled to their opinion. As a graphic designer, I totally understand, however sometimes clarity and high-quality imagery isn’t always obtainable when it comes to a.. free writing workshop. I did however, give some suggestions at the end:

"You could include the prompts on the image (in lieu of verbally repeating & writing in the chat because when others write, you have to scroll to see the prompt(s)), however I recall the TNM Host mentioning they didn't want to have the image on the screen the entire time (~14mins of writing prompts).

Another suggestion could be creating a Google Slide deck (or Microsoft PowerPoint presentation) with three individual slides showcasing:

1st slide = Image
2nd slide = First writing prompt
3rd slide = Second writing prompt

This may help those who are hard of hearing, like me, and eliminate the scrolling up and down in the Zoom chat to see the writing prompts."

The TNM Host seemed to appreciate my suggestion(s) and replied something to the affect of: “Oh, not to make light of your hard of hearing, but you have made me see the light!” something like that, I can’t remember exactly what she said. It was funny that she didn’t seem to take herself too seriously. I could see she thoroughly enjoyed interacting with a diverse group of creatives. This group seemed to be courteous of others time and brought it to the TNM Host’s attention if they skipped over someone by mistake.

The TNM Host briefly shared the above image as
inspiration for the below prompts

Prompt #1: What secret past is unknown to his colleagues that they’d never suspect? (~7mins of writing)

In the Muggle world, he’s a Concierge at a four star hotel in downtown London from June to August. In the off season, he is the Caretaker of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry. His name is Argus Filch and no.. he’s neither Witch or Wizard. He’s a Squib, he was born to at least one Witch or Wizard parent, however he cannot perform magic. A dud, if you will. Nonetheless, his scholastic wage barely covers living expenses so he needed another job to make ends meet.

Prompt #2: What one small slip breaks his cover? (~7 mins of writing)

On a long, dark, and stormy humid summer night, Argus was escorting two hotel guests from the lobby; his 48th trip during his double shift. “Merlin’s beard! Ten more minutes to go and I’m off,” Argus thought to himself with a yawn as he ascended the last step and turned the corner into the hallway. The tall slender lady handed her portly gentleman companion something from her pocketbook and he handed it to Argus. They tipped him Muggle money for carrying their luggage to their room.

“Yessir, thank you, Headmaster,” Argus automatically replied, pocketing the tip.

“H-hang on, w-who?” the male hotel guest replied, glancing to Argus, and then to his lady.

“Oh, a thousand apologies, s-sir,” Argus blurted, he slowly realized he slipped up, and attempted to recover. “I-I’ve m-mistook you for s-someone e-else.”

“I know very well who you mistook me for- -,” the middle-aged man sternly stated, unwavering, stepping closer to Argus.

“Ahem,” the lady interrupted, tip toeing in between the two men, resting one hand on her companion’s shoulder, and the other on the hotel room door knob. “I’m sure it was an honest mistake.”

“Yes, Mum,” Argus whispered, with his head low, eyes fixed on the floor. As he slowly backed away from them, he heard the man make an indistinct remark with a grunt.

“C’mon Vernon, Mummy needs to be oiled and spoiled!” she squealed, while pulling his necktie like a dog leash toward her.

“Oh, Petunia!” he pleaded, panting and whimpering; they disappeared behind the hotel room door.

Bloody Muggles! It’s time to clock out,” Argus thought to himself with a sigh of relief as he began to descend the stairs to the lobby.

Published by

Nosilla Drabbih

Free Spirit. Creative. Mermaid. Thrifty Shopper. Vessel of Fun Facts. Warrior. Old Soul. Writer. Empath.

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