Resolution update: August 2016


1. Don’t die.

Survived pneumonia and a foot injury in August.  

2. Lose 20 pounds.

Still 17 pounds down. Just three to go. 

3. Do at least 100 push-ups and 100 sit-ups five days a week.


4. Practice yoga at least three days a week.

Still have yet to re-schedule my restart, but I've been doing some poses with my kids in the kitchen. That doesn't really count, but it signals a beginning.


5. Complete my fifth novel before the end of February.


6. Complete my sixth novel.

I have two novels that are more than halfway finished and one that is finished but requires a complete re-write. However, it doesn't look like either of these will be my next novel.

We are still deciding on the next book. Fingers crossed I can convince my editor of the greatness of one of these manuscripts.  

7. Write a proposal for a middle grade novel.

Done! Four chapters, 10,000 words, and a synopsis sent from agent to editor. We await word.

8. Write at least three new picture books. 

One of my now former students and I are writing a picture book. Now that we are back in school, work can commence again. 

I am also editing two previously written picture books.

The other new picture books will be written during this school year. 

9. Complete a book proposal for a book on storytelling.

Done! Sort of. Three chapters, an outline, and comparisons have been sent to my agent. She LOVES it. We've decided that it needs one more chapter before we submit. As soon as these revisions are complete on my novel, I'll crank it out.   

10. Write a new screenplay

No progress yet.

11. Write a musical for a summer camp

Done! I had the pleasure of watching the musical performed at the summer camp at the beginning of the month, and it was fantastic.

Grown men cried. Literally. 

I liked the story so much that I may adapt it for a middle grade book at some point.

I'm also being sent a video of the musical this week.  

12. Publish at least one Op-Ed in The New York Times.

I've now submitted two Op-Ed pieces to the New York Times and been rejected both times.

I am now working on a new piece. 

13. Publish an article in an educational journal.

No progress yet. 

14. Submit one or more short stories to at least three publishing outlets.

No progress yet.

15. Select three behaviors that I am opposed to and adopt them for one week, then write about my experiences on the blog.

I spent a week backing my car into parking spots (which initially struck me as insane) and finally wrote about it. It actually received a lot of attention.

Starting today, I will be engaging in a month of daily affirmations. This is also something that seems fairly ridiculous to me, but I'm keeping an open mind,

16. Increase my author newsletter subscriber base to 1,000.

Done! My subscriber list now stands at 1,062 readers. 

If you'd like to join the masses and receive my monthly newsletter, which contains a writing and storytelling tip, an Internet recommendation, book recommendations, free giveaways, and more, subscribe here:

You can also sign up to receive new blog posts in your inbox every morning:

17. Collaborate with a former colleague on an educational book.

This project has been cancelled. After meeting with my collaborator, we determined that I am not best suited for this project.    


18. Produce a total of 12 Speak Up storytelling events.


We produced a show at Infinity Hall in Norfolk, CT and one show at Real Art Ways in August, bringing our total number of shows to 12 in 2016.

19. Deliver a TED Talk.

Done twice over! 

I spoke at TEDxNatick in January. The title of the talk was "Live Your Life Like Your 100 Year-Old Self." Here's the recording: 

I also spoke at the TEDx conference at The Country School in Madison, CT in April. The title of the talk was "Speak Less. Expect More." Here is the recording:

I've also pitched a talk another TEDx event in 2016 and await word, though I'm starting to think the answer is no. 

20. Attend at least 15 Moth events with the intention of telling a story.

Done! In July, I attended Moth StorySLAMs at Town Hall in Flushing, Housing Works in Manhattan, and The National Black Theater in Harlem. I also competed in a GrandSLAM in Brooklyn. 

A busy month. 

This brings my total number of Moth events in 2016 to 19.   

21. Win at least three Moth StorySLAMs.

I attended three StorySLAMs in August. My name was never pulled from the hat. 

I have attended a total of 15 Moth StorySLAMs in 2016 thus far but only performed three times.

  • I had my named pulled first in one slam (making it almost impossible to win).
  • I tied for first in another slam (and lost on the tiebreaker). 
  • I finished in second place. 

It's been a tough 2016. In previous years, my name has been drawn from the hat better than two-thirds of the time. Having my name come out of the hat less than 20% of the time - particularly when every slam requires about five total hours of driving, isn't exactly inspiring. 

22. Win a Moth GrandSLAM.

Done! I won the Moth GrandSLAM in Somerville in March. 

23. Launch at least one new podcast.

Background work (podcast logo, hosting service, website, etc.) continues.
I'm close. Also excited.  

24. Launch a storytelling project that I will otherwise remain vague about here but will become a primary focus of 2016. 

Work on this project has begun in earnest. 


25. Host at least one Shakespeare Circle.

No progress.

26. Learn to cook three good meals for my wife.

I cooked two new meals for Elysha in August thanks to Blue Apron and a friend who was kind enough to pass on meals to me.

I made barbecue pork burgers with onion straws and corn on the cob. I also made curried catfish with coconut rice, green beans, and a raisin chutney. 

I could easily make both again. 

One meal to go. 

27. Plan a 25 year reunion of the Heavy Metal Playhouse.

I'm still seeking a location for the reunion near the Heavy Metal Playhouse (since the apartment complex does not have a room to rent) and will then decide upon a date.


28. Replace the 12 ancient, energy-inefficient windows in our home with new windows that will keep the cold out and actually open in the warmer months.

No progress. 

29. Optimize our television for a streaming service. 

I'm hoping Elysha will take care of this during the fall.

30. Set a new personal best in golf.

I played a lot of golf in August.

As stated previously, I have begun a serious and committed change of my swing under the guidance of a friend who also happens to be an outstanding teacher. As a result, I am hitting the ball farther, higher, and less consistently.

As a result, I scored poorly in August but am hitting the ball better than ever before. 

I also shot a 47 for nine holes last week, which was one off my best score ever. 

I also applied for a targeted practice experiment through a popular podcast with a specific focus on hitting my driver farther. If accepted, I will receive a professional trainer and my progress will be charted via the podcast.  

31. Play poker at least six times in 2016.

I played one game back in April. I need some people who want to play.

32. Do not speak negatively about another person's physical appearance except when done in jest with my closest friends. 


Here's a potentially new idea for next year: 

I will not comment on physical appearance - good or bad - in any way unless I am speaking to my wife and children. I already adhere to this policy in the classroom as a teacher, so why not expand it throughout my life? 

My goal is to reduce the amount of attention paid to physical appearance in this society, shifting attention to things that truly matter: words and actions. I understand that one man's crusade may not change the world, but perhaps it will change my world and influence those around me. 

Change often starts small, many times with one person. And I believe in this cause.  

I'm not sure about this goal yet, but I'm considering it. Thoughts?

33. Post my progress in terms of these resolutions on this blog on the first day of every month.