By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Nov 16, 2016 at 9:08 AM Photography: Royal Brevvaxling

Check in early and stay late during OnMilwaukee's "Hotel Week" sponsored by VISIT Milwaukee. The next seven days will be packed with stories about historic area hotels, reviews, history, food and drink, staycations and more. Find out what it's like to be a tourist in this town. (Chocolate on your pillow not included.)

The Pfister Hotel’s Artist-in-Residence and Hotel Narrator (writer-in-residence, of which I was one) programs have been celebrated since their inception almost nine years ago. Both programs provide a paid, one-year position to a carefully selected visual artist and a writer to artistically represent the hotel.

The artist works from inside an open studio on the ground floor of the hotel and guests are encouraged to watch the artist work and engage with him or her. The narrator wanders the public spaces – including the Lobby Lounge and The Pfister Cafe – talking with and listening to guests to find content for The Pfister’s blog. Both the artist and the writer work on a variety of other creative projects during their tenure.

Currently, The Pfister is in search of its next Artist in Residence to move into the studio April 1, 2017. The deadline for applications is Dec. 5. Interested artists can download the application here. Abstract expressionist painter Pamela Anderson is the current Artist in Residence.

The Pfister Narrator will be chosen in early spring 2017, but OnMilwaukee recently checked in with current narrator, Dominic Inouye, who started the position on May 1, 2016. Inouye was also profiled today about his ZIPMKE project. He chats here about his life as a hotel writer: what he's learned, what he's doing and where he's going with the opportunity.

OnMilwaukee: What have you learned so far as The Pfister Narrator?

Dominic Inouye: This experience has been a lesson in many things. I’ve learned that sometimes I’m really shy. I guess I’ve always been. This job is about approaching guests and talking to them, and I’ve realized I’ve been more of a wallflower or waited for others to approach me. This position has encouraged me to reach out to people I don’t know and make them feel comfortable. I was a teacher for 22 years and that’s what I did as a teacher, too.

It sounds like it could be awkward, walking up to strangers and asking them questions about their life to publish in the hotel’s blog. Are people generally comfortable with this?

People generally are. Sometimes they will start off by saying they don’t have an interesting life so I wouldn’t want to write about them, but I believe everyone has a story, and once we start talking it always leads to interesting conversation and the reality that everyone is living an interesting life.

Can you give an example of this?

First of all, I have also found out through this job that I’m a judgmental person, like all of us tend to be. I have unintentionally made assumptions and judgments about people when first meeting them and it has taught me to really check myself.

One of my favorite blogs so far is about a guy from southern California: a blondish-haired guy who was here for a golf outing. I don't get golf and at first I thought this guy was just going to sit here and talk sports. I told him that the theme of the blog was "life, liberty and happiness" and he told me a story about giving one of his kidneys to his 11-year-old daughter. Then we ended up talking about aspects of Buddhism and it was so incredibly clear to me that this man was about so much more than golf or sports.

What are some of the special projects you are working on as the narrator?

I created a series called "Humans of The Pfister," kind of like the "Humans of New York" series. I also host "Plume Service," which started this past Saturday. It’s a monthly writing experience open to the public. The next one is Dec. 10. The plan is to look at the art in The Pfister and respond to the paintings with words. I also plan to collaborate with Pamela (Anderson) and do something together. She is so beautifully abstract and I'm so detail oriented so it will be interesting to see what we come up with together.

Where did you teach English and for how long?

I taught English for 22 years: five years at Marquette University, 10 years at Pius High School and the past seven years at the Prairie School in Racine. Last year, I decided not to renew my teaching contract because I wanted to work on personal creative projects. As a teacher, I gave all of my creative energy to my kids' and that was great, but I wasn’t feeling it anymore. I needed to focus on new projects. Then I got The Pfister narrator gig and thought, "OK, this is a good place to start again."

Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.

Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.