I have been very busy lately, which is why I haven’t written much. It’s not that I don’t have the time – after all, I can knock out a post in less than fifteen minutes if I have to. But sometimes my mind is just so obsessed with other things that I can’t think of nice topics to write about. I’ll be attending a training session on blogging soon, though, so hopefully that’ll leave me with plenty of good ideas.
I’ve attended the Let’s Talk About Sex symposium on Valentine’s Day, which was incredibly useful. The format was new to me: we were asked to submit papers in advance, which were then circulated. On the day, about twenty minutes per paper were reserved for discussion. It worked well, particularly because we had only nine papers to get through. I got some wonderful and useful comments. I also found it easier to come up with questions and comments. My attention span is quite short and I tend to zone off during talks, so it was much easier to comment on written text. We had dinner in a very hot (in terms of temperature) restaurant, and had a lot of fun. Networking is, at least for me, usually the most enjoyable part of this kind of gatherings.
In February I also competed at the BUCS karate championships in Sheffield. My expectations weren’t high because it was my first competition ever and I’ve only done karate for about a year and a half. But I fought my way to the second round (where I got beaten by a ferocious opponent) and got to the third round in kata, which is about demonstrating your moves. Overall, it was great fun and extremely tiring. It took me about a week to recover. I know Joyce Carol Oates has written on boxing and I’m thinking of doing a similar project which compares Fight Club and my own experience as a fighter. If I ever find the time, that is.
I’m about to leave for Milton Keynes for the final Public Intellectual event. Being part of the program has been very useful, I’ve learned a lot of skills which will certainly come in handy at different stages in my career. Again, I got a lot of networking done as well. I’m still thinking of ways to take my knowledge further and am secretly dreaming of expanding my non-academic writing in yet unknown directions.
Apart from teaching and working on my main project I’m also preparing a paper for BAAS 2014 in April. I’m looking forward to presenting at a “proper” conference that isn’t just aimed at postgrads. While I like the laidback athmosphere postgrad events tend to have, it’ll be a good experience to immerse in a slightly more competitive environment for two days. I’m writing about homes, Christianity and the American family and hope to work my research into my overall project, eventually.
I occasionally feel like there’s hardly any time to sit and reflect on all the stuff I do, because I’m simply running around all day and collapse at night. I’m planning to use this blog on a more regular basis as a research diary and as a way to write about things I can’t really address in an academic context. Such as…heavy metal music. But more will follow on that.