Screenshot from a film, body lying on a table, covered in acupuncture needles and moxibustion nodes.
Screenshot from Kingdom (Korean historical drama / horror TV series), taken by Tseen

I’m writing this blogpost partly to note that I have been writing blogposts again. Yes, a little meta and odd, but it has been a while since I’ve written regularly for the blogs in my life.

For quite a few years, I was writing/editing for two weekly blogs and there has been a steep decline in this kind of work, and the thinking associated with it, for a range of reasons. These reasons include being part of an understaffed work team for more than a year, huge personal loss, general pandemic malaise, and higher education sector angst. Since the pandemic began, I’ve been having serious trouble even thinking of a topic that would be of interest to researcher communities. I usually aim for a smidge of helpfulness or support in the things I write, even if it’s a topic that’s fairly bleak. There are ways to write with solidarity or empathy that (hopefully) don’t leave readers feeling too flat or bad. But I had nothing. Layered on that this last year has been the ongoing work of grieving and finding my way back to a meaningful life. Not surprisingly, this is something that takes a while.

In the last month or so, however, there has been an increase in blog energy: more submissions, more solicitations, and more writing from me. Warmer weather kicking in? Who knows?

Here are the results of the energy boost, no matter where it came from: 

RED Alert (La Trobe researchers blog)
The reason for the energy boost of these posts is a bit more obvious: Academic Writing Month was in November. We (our unit at the university) traditionally have themed posts in the blog about writing, editing, and publishing. So, my colleagues and I made contributions to round out the 5 WEEKS of November Tuesdays (why, November, why five weeks?!). 

Research Whisperer

And, with Research Whisperer, there are a few more in the pipeline for next year already, which is a bit of a novelty these days. A very welcome one! 

In other doings, I’ve done my first in-person presentations since 2019. Last Friday, I was invited into the professional development day held by our university’s School of Allied Health, Human Services, and Sport (convened by Milly Bell). As well as two short presentations about growing your reputation online and thinking like a funding body, I had the privilege – and fun! – of co-facilitating a panel about career choices and pathways with Kylie ‘Happy Academic‘ Ball, one of the best colleagues I’ve ever had in my career. As much as I love working from home, the occasional in-person event is good to remind me of the in/tangible things that physical presence in the same space can bring. The incidental interactions that can be so difficult to replicate online are some of those things. Thank you, Milly, for the invitation and the supportive and insightful space for such a great crew to gather and learn from one another. 

In other, other doings, I’ve been watching a lot of Korean historical dramas / horror. This is one of my favourite genre intersections and the ones I’ve been watching (and re-watching) have been keeping me very happy: 

  • Alchemy of Souls – As I said in a work chat stream: “if you like historical costume dramas with soapy, magical edge (niche, I know), I’d highly recommend Alchemy of Souls (currently on Netflix). It’s a Korean series – high drama, OTT sets and costumes, frothing with portentous looks and very pretty people. I am loving it.” And I’m thinking of rewatching it very soon. 
  • Kingdom (2 series) / Ashin of the North (prequel movie to the Kingdom-verse) – I’ve seen these shows a few times each. So well made, beautifully monstrous scenes and plot developments, and stunning sets/costumes. What’s not to love? Er, possibly not for you if you’re averse to violence or gore. The feature tile for this post is from the opening credits of the series – a gorgeous, creepy montage that I can’t seem to get enough of. Ending this post with a few more screenshots from Kingdom…