In which Kris and Tina have a chat

Hello Keyboard Couple readers!

Kris here,

Tina and I had a bit of a chat and decided to go ahead and use that for our post this week! It’s just a silly chat waiting in the car for the boy at school, but it’s also a good way for us to learn how to upload this audio and bring more interesting topics in the future. Drop us a comment if you have any pointers here, we’re just winging it  as we go.

Thanks for listening, and stay strong! It’s Friday out there!

Short story Wednesday!

Kris here,

It’s sadly been a while since I’ve posted any short stories, so I figured I’d give it a go. I saw a 30 minute writing sprint pop up in a discord channel I’m subscribed to and Tina said “do it!”, then told me to write a Snowflake story. All I had were a pen and paper, but if my ancestors could do it, then dangit so can I. Snowflake is a snow wolf in the novel I’m writing and she’s been a favorite of anyone who’s read the story so far, so I wrote her last day before meeting our protagonist::
_______
Birds chirping merrily in the treetops were her first sensation.

Damn birds she growled.

She’d been up until the sun shone through the treetops hunting, those birds better have a good reason for making this much noise. Yawning quietly, she stretched liberally and padded off to find her pack.

Striding into the clearing, she sniffed tentatively. The strong haze of blood smothered her nostrils, stinging in the frigid air. The wind ruffled her fur pleasantly and took the odor with it, leaving her wanting for the spoils of last night. Curious, she allowed herself to follow the scent on the wind, keeping an eye out for her pack. They should be around here somewhere. The screaming started then, tingling along her spine like an itch.

Seemingly coming from nowhere and everywhere, the high pitched wail suffocated the forest with its persistence. The savage squealing was getting louder with every passing day, alongside whatever screeches and echoes it had accompanied these many, many days. Her pack had discussed hunting down the annoyance before it could become a threat, but surely they’d have awoken her before leaving? The unearthly wail cut short, a deafening silence rising to take its place. Snow crunching beneath her feet seemed to echo in the trees.

She returned to the cave to look for clues, and food. The place smelled heavily of fresh kills and dominance, but nothing abnormal. While she poked around, that shrill screaming started up once more, the caverns around her suddenly feeling much more threatening and malicious as they carried the echoes to and fro. She stalked outside, pinpointing the sounds’ source, determined to do whatever it took to shut it up for good.

A single howl, its baritone note piercing right through her, stilled her feet. The warning call signaled trouble.

Her pack!

The thought of her siblings blazed in the front of her mind. Flying off in a blur of powder and permafrost, she’d gone a hundred steps before she even realized she was moving. Ducking and leaping from side to side to avoid the thick, twisted branches that threatened to ensnare her frenzied journey, she sped at a breakneck pace until she could make out individual yelps just over the ridge. Relying on sound now to guide her path, she rounded the hilltop and ran into a fog of stench like a cave wall – the copper and earth smells mixing into an overwhelming cacophony of death. She bounded out of the scraggly winter foliage into a clearing and the blood froze in her veins.

In the valley below she made out a few of her own brothers and sisters alongside many pack-mates from further away. They were all locked in a lethal struggle with hideously deformed, yet diminutive little creatures. Their broad tails and beady eyes were but deformed mockeries. Wicked fangs jutted from every jaw, and dirty, clawed hands all gripped long branches that they used to keep the wolves at bay. She watched her only younger brother clamp down onto the throat of one of the monsters proudly. Her pride was replaced with grief, and then rage as he was surrounded and stabbed over and over with those same sticks.

Racing downhill like a scream, she barreled into the monsters attacking her brother in a flurry of teeth and claws, maiming 2 and feeling the snap of another’s neck before they backed out of range. She felt, more than heard, the growl of thanks from beneath her, and glanced down to see his eyes close for the last time. Her ears rang with the din of the anguished howl she didn’t remember starting. Anguish fueled the rage boiling inside her. She felt the sharpened spike scrape against her ribs as the monsters approached.

Come to me

She revealed the grin only the feast of a wolf can ever see, and tore one of the creatures in half before he could raise his accursed stick. The others raised theirs to ward her off, but she lodged them into herself with a leap and crashed down into the middle of them. The creatures hissed and snapped at her, the expression they kept when she separated them from their heads. Time slowed down and skipped by her all at once. Nothing existed outside this clearing, nothing mattered but revenge against those who dared to hunt her family. To hunt HER.

Seeing two of them carrying a dead wolf on their flattened tails, she sprang through the air, determined to kill them all at any cost. She crushed one beneath her into a fallen tree and watched it impale him, before realizing too late that she was next. Refusing to show pain, she motored her arms and legs, demanding them to work through sheer will. Those limbs refused her orders, weakly scratching the dead brute she lay atop.

Damn it!

She rocked the tree side to side in a vain effort to break it. She’d gathered quite a crown now and warily eyed the remaining bastards who encircled her. They tightened the circle just the tiniest bit too far and paid for it as she bit into the eyes of the biggest one. His screams rang into the darkening sky as he clutched at his face, yelling and hissing at those nearest him. They each backed away now, keeping a healthy distance. They squeaked and hissed at one another, before finally climbing the hill at her back. After a moment, the air was filled with the crunch of wood and an explosion of splinters rained all around her as they brought down a tree on top of her.

She watched as they stacked monster and wolf alike into a wheeled wooden box and disappeared into the shadowed wood. She growled, then whimpered, and sank into the darkness.

____

The snap of a branch whipped her into reality. Such a nice dream she was having, a pity she still lived.

She honed into the scent of an approaching…human? She watched through droopy eyes as it came closer. Another snapped branch made her twitch, setting off a river of pain flowing throughout her entire body. Growling, she narrowed her eyes as it approached, waiving a chunk of flesh…

Waiting for the fall

So often my life has been full of great chances or experiences followed by huge falls. I often tell people that I don’t have a fear of heights, just a fear of falling, because I know how much it hurts when you land.

I find that this has slowly been changing for me. As I work on bettering myself for me, I have found that I take great pride in my ups and lessons in my downs. No longer do I fear the fall because it will hurt. I understand that falls happen and that if I breath and use my tools I can learn from them and grow in a new or better way next time. So, Let’s talk about what I am pumped about doing.

So far I have lost over 10lbs. Which is amazing for me. Not just a loose it and gain it back like normal but a good month or two of being down in my weight. Or as my handsome husband likes to say, “Making new lows and lowering our highs.” He is right. When I stopped looking at it as a loose or you lose, I started noticing that yes sometimes I go up, but I have been rocketing down so even as I gain a little here or there, they are my new high which is still much lower then my old high. With that I have been pushing on. Focusing on my body and what I eat. Pushing myself to do more and move as much as I can without hurting myself.

Another thing I have going is my business. I started a new company called Mochi Photography. I had an idea a year and a half ago to have a booth where cosplayers or families could come and take pictures during their convention. I am also selling plushies and other crafty things I make in my spare time. I am now working on my sales pitch to get into daycare centers and other children rich areas where I can take pictures for them.

My other ongoing project is school! I am now in my second year of school to get my business degree. I am proud to say that my grades are awesome, my work is…. in by the due date, and I have really enjoyed the classes so far. I am so proud of myself for having stuck to my schooling and keeping up with it regardless of how I am feeling that week. I keep reminding myself that I started this school at the same time as Nik to keep me accountable. If he can do it so can I!

And one of my greatest ongoing joys is that Nik is doing so great in school. He is even leading the pack in the emergency drills and keeping focused on his work without a teacher or helper around to help. This is a big change from last year at the end of the year and a huge relief to my anxiety!

With all that said, I still have one more thing I am picking up in the next two months or so. I will be doing NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. I am going to focus down and split up my current novel work into a few novellas. So my project in November will be writing every day, and a deadline to finish the first draft of my Novella by the end of November.

So much to do, I am feeling a little tired just talking about it. Guess I should take a nap really quick before getting back to my homework, Mochi plushie making for this weekend, and taking care of Nik…… Nahhhhh I got this!

A brief howdy-do from Kris

Kris here,

I’ve been practicing that drawing thing I chatted about last time, but I don’t want all my posts to be about the same thing. That could get boring. Here’s an updated 5 minute go at Bob Moss! I didn’t really get very far but I definitely think the shape is better than last time. I thought it would be fun to jump face-first back into drawing and decided to make an entry for a contest put out by a youtuber I’ve been following – the details are in this video if anyone is interested; I don’t want to throw all the details around. Let’s see if you can guess the two I chose – I definitely have work to do! Here’s my current status –

 

 

Enough about that, what about you guys? November is coming up and it’s a great time where we pretend to be responsible and write ten million 50,000 words on a novel to further enrich the literary content of the world. I’ve been doing a lot of world and game designing, working outside, lots of non-novel writing this year, so I thought I’d give it a good run this time around. My story from last year is sitting at about 40,000 words already and I can’t imagine I’m going over 100,000 with this thing, presumably I can get it pounded out for a first draft. We’ve started the pre-month hype on the Undercroft NanoWrimo page over on Facebook – swing on by (and request an invite) if you’re looking to hang out with some like-minded writing types!

So what big projects do we all have going on?

I am so girly!

I am sitting here on my couch. Waiting for a package with a skirt. Kris told me yesterday that for some reason in his mind I have always been anti-girly things. Thinking about it he isn’t wrong. I have always felt weird about wearing a dress or skirts.

However, Since my husband has started pushing me to explore more creative outlets I found myself developing a new passion and understanding of who I was as a person. I started to understand how my friends, family and past had impacted so much of who I thought I was. I grew up with a great best friend however, she was very much a tomboy and anything remotely girly was a sin. So we dressed ourselves in the style of punk boys and I wore as much baggy clothes as possible. Anything to keep eyes off me. As an adult, I never really grew into that feeling of needing to dress up. I had interview outfits, but other then that, I was pretty much a jeans and T-shirt gal.

Now, since starting school and therapy and working on my own self image, I have learned about the style and flair I like for myself. This includes a lot of poofy skirts. I am talking 50s style A lines with pleats. Look out if they have pockets! I have found that I really do like shopping, on my own terms. I am still a book worm, because reading not only allows me to dive into a new place or story, but also study what other people do that amazes me or keeps me on my toes. I really love painting. I like to get my hands dirty with the paint and use my fingers to push and pull the paint around on the canvas and tell a story with emotion in the movement that it causes. I enjoy crafting new things, drafting patterns, singing, dancing, and anything that people will stop and enjoy. I am pretty good at photography and getting better.

All these things I never considered myself before, I am opening up to now becoming part of who I am as a person. So yes husband, I am girly.

Kris is terrible at drawing

Kris here,

I thought I’d made this week a bit picture heavy and start my “stop sucking” drawing thing that I mentioned 2 weeks ago. I used to be a… proficient, artist. I haven’t done any of it for about 10 years, because it was worse than doing the dishes. But lately, I’ve been losing that mindset  – thanks to my adorable wife – and figured I’d put my skills to the test. I’ve always been a big advocate of “everyone can draw, you just need to practice.”

I decided to start three different images – one from my imagination, one from a reference, and one from an actual object. The first is “Bob Moss”, a big tree guy that I just thought would be amusing to draw. The second is a tripod that definitely wasn’t just sitting a foot away from me after I finished Bob Moss and THAT’S why I chose it – that was my real object. And Tina suggested I draw a Squid she painted a while back for my image from reference- it’s a cute squid, sure I’ll draw it.

One thing I learned from this experience is that…I should probably scan the pictures next time, instead of taking pictures. Another thing to do is probably to draw my sketches lightly on the back of the 5 minute drawings, because this paper was VERY thin, or it’s just easy to smudge graphically. I drew most of this with a mechanical pencil, except the squid, which was a normal wooden pencil. Which was way better, I have to say.

I spent 5 minutes on each drawing for 1 image, then I spent 30 seconds of warm-up, a sketch of the object for 30, 60 and 90 seconds, and then a second 5 minute draw. The warm-up thing is just to loosen your hand up a bit – just draw some shapes or whatever makes your drawing hand comfy. I’m not sure the best format to actually show the images – I was thinking of just pasting them right here, but that would be pretty confusing I think and might look weird. I’ve posted them to imgur for now, and I’ll see how that works for the time being.  Let me know if it’s better to just post the pics on the post – it’ll be more to look at all at once, but will also save a couple of clicks!

Click the links to view the pics, feel free to follow along at home on your journey to become an amazing artist! Feel free to giggle, I definitely did.

Bob Moss the tree guy –
Sketches: https://imgur.com/t0OktYz 
1st 5 minute: https://imgur.com/Cupzgrt
2nd 5 minute: https://imgur.com/hN4nm2l

The Tripod of Convenience –
Sketches: https://imgur.com/Gf4Cetv
1st 5 minute: https://imgur.com/3WycvTp
2nd 5 minute: https://imgur.com/2Rw1gxB

And Finally, Squidly the painting (I need to actually photograph the painting still…foreplanning!) –

Sketches:  https://imgur.com/xkzvriR
1st 5 minute: https://imgur.com/dGrAH9i
2nd 5 minute: https://imgur.com/qZTJRba

As you can see, my artistic skills are incredible. I’ve decided to stick with pencil for now. Once we’re happy with our progress, we’ll spread out into other mediums, don’t even worry about it. If you get inspired to draw along, choose an object in real life, an object from a picture or drawing, or just something you concoct in your own head, and have fun with it!