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I had the torn meniscus in my left knee repaired four weeks ago yesterday. Last Tuesday I attended my one and only day of rehab. I started the second round of Couch-to-5K (C25K) to help during the rehab process and ran day two of week three this morning. For those counting, I started the program before the rehab. The meniscus feels fine but the muscles around the knee clearly need some time to come back. Gratefully, the C25K program has as much walking as running in the early weeks so I can build the strength back in the leg. I will confess that the program this time around is going much slower but that is a good thing.

Interestingly (but probably not too much for those who read the other two blog posts about running), my writing has been a bit in the tank. I am producing words but not as much on the MLK book project as I had hoped at this point in the summer. I’ll spare the excuses (family travel, surgery, failure to attract travel grant to complete the research for said book) and say that I failed to show up to my writing every day. There were some successes, but for the most part I did not sit down to write like I should.

Almost one week ago, I received an email that jumpstarted (sort of) the writing. A colleague at another institution recommended me to a group of folks who were publishing volume of collected essays on the Religious Left in the twentieth century. The person charged with writing a chapter on African Americans, religion, and the political left during the 1940s to 1960s backed out, but the editors felt the chapter was too important to go to press. They reached out to see if I would be willing to contribute it. I hesitated for a moment (that MLK book project looms large with an October deadline) because they wanted the chapter by August 15. My pitch to them was a fairly narrow idea that would help me process a portion of the MLK project but would not be featured in the book (the non-classical liberalism take on rights language in African American religious rhetoric). If the editors accepted, I could think and write about something I need to work through while pressing forward with the book. If not, I could focus on the book project again because the writing of the chapter abstract got some creative juices flowing. The editors said yes, so I am working under two writing deadlines.

Rehab and running came at a good time. After a morning running and picking blueberries and blackberries with my family at a local farm, I came to my office and started writing. In other circles, I keep word counts so I will share them here: 665 words on the Religious Left Article and 521 words to start chapter two of the MLK project (chapter one is in its almost ready for readers draft). Like the C25K program, small steps lead to bigger goals. In the early weeks of the running program I get to walk as much as I run, but later those numbers shift and I take on more running minutes than walking. Writing really is about sitting down to write, being comfortable crappy days and drafts, and editing the words into coherent thoughts. As the blog posts indicate, I have to learn that lesson over and over.

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