I’ve been blogging for over a decade now. My first attempt, which included the initial incarnation of the Brief Biography of God, appeared on my MySpace page around 2007. I immediately fell in love with the medium — it was the perfect vehicle for me to share my writing with the world. Not that the world needed it or, outside of a few friends, even cared about it.
Two years later, and everyone, including myself, had migrated over to Facebook. My readership, such as it was, declined to almost zero (I was never very good at picking a winner). But that was OK, because I had bigger fish to fry, and a new platform to showcase my writing.
In 2009, I started City Boy, my record label, and a year later I began to see the potential of blogging as a way to enhance my visibility as a professional and to drive traffic to the company website. In between the press releases, Thoughts from the Guv’nor, as the blog was called, featured reviews and interviews with thought leaders in the music business and beyond. Some of those posts now reside in the From the Archives section of this site.
In December 2012 as City Boy was nearing the end of its lifespan, I ventured over to WordPress and began this little corner of the interwebs. I started with a couple of posts detailing my journey to defeat Type II diabetes by getting off my couch and working my way up to my first ever marathon in Toronto in October of that year. At the time, Feats of the Flat-Footed Fox — as the blog was then known — was only going to document my running exploits.
For the next two years, that’s all I wrote about. But I really didn’t pursue it with a lot of energy — I managed a post a month in 2013, and a post every two months the following year. I knew I had a lot more to write about, but it wasn’t until January 2015 that I finally figured it out.
It was then I decided to write about the three things that really interested me — running and music, of course, but also matters of spirituality. I immediately rebranded. I bought my own domain and I’ve never looked back. Posting was more frequent and traffic increased threefold over 2013 and almost doubled again the following year.
So, to celebrate the one-hundredth post here at brucepegg.com, I’ve compiled my own top ten list of favorite posts. And to all you fans, pedants and bean counters out there, yes, I am fully aware this is post number 101. But, as has been the case so often in the last twenty years, Chuck Berry got in the way and beat me to it.
And if you don’t like it, sue me — I’m celebrating now.
This blog’s subtitle is “words for the mind, body and spirit,” but it was not until early this year that I attempted to write something that tried to link those things in some way. In this post, I tried to give an insight into how running has become less about keeping fit and more about becoming a spiritual practice for me. I’m still trying to figure out what that actually means, but I’m getting closer.
(Originally published January 11, 2017; viewer ranking to date: 38/100)
9) Semper Currens XVII.II: Mission Accomplished
Semper Currens was a fun experiment: a virtual training blog where I tried to bring readers along with me on a sixteen-week program to run the 2015 Marine Corps Marathon. This, the final blog in the series, charts the mile-by-mile emotions of running a marathon in the spectacular setting of Washington DC and under the watchful eyes of the brave men and women of the Corps.
(Originally published November 19, 2015; viewer ranking to date: 27/100)
8) Review: Ghost (Main Street Armory, Rochester NY; September 16, 2016)
I’ve written a few reviews for this blog and for Thoughts from the Guv’nor. Unlike a lot of critics, I limit my reviews to music or literature that I truly understand. I do this because I firmly believe a critics job is not to praise or pan but to provide context — that way, a reader can be much more informed about an act or author. Hopefully, that comes across here.
I also included this in the list because I felt this was the first review where I think I finally got right. It’s short and to the point — an art in and of itself — and I think I was able to match the band’s humor (at least, I hope that’s what it is) with a little of my own.
(Originally published September 28, 2016; viewer ranking to date: 72/100)
7) Photo Essay: Running Rehoboth
I like this blog for several reasons: first, it is one of only two blogs so far that has been visual as well as literal; second, it describes one of those rare runs that is pure joy, that goes beyond pain or trying to accomplish something. It was a run for the sake of running, a run when the body is unchained and set free. And it brings back memories of a wonderful vacation with Tessa.
(Originally published April 21, 2015; viewer ranking to date: 65/100)
6) A Brief Biography of God, Part Four: Life Support
I liked my original idea of making this a boxing bout between God and humanity, but every attempt I tried came out contrived and forced. Eventually, I got it right by the “less-is-more” approach — bringing in the boxing references slowly and subtly so they rode below, rather than above, the main theme. The research was great fun, too.
(Originally published June 2, 2015; viewer ranking to date: 46/100)
5) Aya Gooin’ Down De Mont: SAHB Story
The whole Aya Gooin’ Down De Mont series was an absolute blast to do, partly because I loved the way it documented my teenage years, partly because it honored such a great institution in the cultural life of my hometown, and partly because I managed to get a number of my friends involved in telling the stories.
I love all of the De Mont posts, but this one stood out in particular because of the unusual circumstances it details and because it gives a little more exposure to one of the finest unsung bands in recent memory.
(Originally published September 29, 2015; viewer ranking to date: 17/100)
4) A Cruel Race for April Fools: The 2016 Syracuse Half Marathon
What can you say about a run that occurs in such awful weather conditions that it is featured in Runner’s World? A lot, as it turns out. I particularly enjoyed getting my James Joyce on and writing the 158-word stream-of-consciousness sentence toward the end of the piece that details all the emotions you go through in a long-distance race. In a concession to you, the reader, I did use punctuation.
(Originally published April 9, 2016; viewer ranking to date: 37)
3) You Are My Beloved. In You, I Am Well Pleased.
This remains my most successful sermon to date. It works, I think, because it is personal without being self-serving. My intention was to show just how universal life’s struggles are, and how religion and myth provide the metaphorical geography for those struggles. Most important to me, though, is the way it celebrates a friendship which is now well into its fifth decade.
(Originally published February 26, 2016; viewer ranking to date: 7)
2) Chuck Berry — Roll Over Beethoven
Being asked to write this essay by the Library of Congress was both an honor and an intimidating challenge. Fortunately, I had done most of the hard work for this years before, though Tim McFarlin’s essay Father(s)? of Rock and Roll and the testimony from the Johnson v. Berry lawsuit that he cites included a lot of information that has come to light since the publication of Brown Eyed Handsome Man in 2002. I loved the way the song perfectly illustrates Berry’s own philosophy of creativity — one that I wholeheartedly share — that creativity is not producing something out of nothing but a weaving together of two or more already existing elements to create, as contradictory as it may seem, something new and unique. And I loved tracing the impact the song had on subsequent generations of musicians, helping cement Berry’s legacy in the world of popular music.
(Originally published March 1, 2015; viewer ranking to date: 3)
1) 15(K) Reasons to Love the Utica Boilermaker
This post perfectly illustrates the vagaries of writing and the creative act. On the eve of the 2016 Boilermaker, I began writing this as a serious top ten list, only to have it turn into a humorous piece celebrating each of the 15 kilometers that make up my favorite road race. I thought it was cute and funny, but I didn’t think it was anything remarkable. I put it out there anyway.
Three days after publication, I posted it on the Boilermaker Facebook page, and it went kinda sorta viral, giving me the biggest one-day viewing since this blog began. To date, it remains the most popular post on this site, and I have no doubt that as this year’s race draws closer it will get shared a few more times. It may not be the most profound thing I have ever written, but I am just fine with that.
(Originally published June 25, 2016; viewer ranking to date: 1 by a country mile — or should that be 9.3 country miles … )