Resolution update: September 2017


1. Don’t die.

Alive and kicking. 

2. Lose 20 pounds.

Weight loss has commenced with the end of the summer. I've lost nine pounds in all so far, including three pounds in September. It will be hard to lose another 11 in the last three months, but I'll try like hell. 

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


Someone recently doubted that I am still doing these exercises as often as this goal requires, but that person is obviously a jackass with self esteem issues. 

4. Practice yoga at least three days a week for at least 15 minutes each day.

I participated in a full week of yoga while teaching at Kripalu back in August. 

It was incredibly boring.

Still, my friend has a routine for me. I'm going to learn it and do it. 

5. Take the stairs whenever I am ascending or descending five flights or less.

Done. With the exception of a trip to the 19th floor of a building, no elevators for me in September. 


6. Complete my sixth novel before the end of 2017.

Work continues in earnest. The book is due this month. I'm closing in on the finish line.   

7. Complete my first middle grade/YA novel.

Work continues in earnest. Due date is December.  

8. Write at least three new picture books, including one with a female, non-white protagonist. 

I'm still working on a non-fiction picture book about the great Idaho beaver airlift of 1948.

I also pitched a series of picture books to my agent. She liked them. Eventually.

I've also begun a picture book about primitive life before cellphones.

9. Complete a book on storytelling.

DONE! My editor has returned my manuscript for edits, and I've seen drafts of possible cover art. All very exciting. 

10. Write a new screenplay.

No progress. This is looking unlikely. 

11. Write a musical.


I was not able to watch the debut performance of "Back in the Day" but I hear it went really well. 

12. Submit at least five Op-Ed pieces to The New York Times for consideration.

I have submitted one piece to the Times so far in 2017. No luck.  

13. Write a proposal for a nonfiction book related to education.

Note-taking completed. My proposal will need to include some sample chapters, so that process has begun. Slowly. 

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

No progress.

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

On the suggestion of a reader:

I spent April praying to God at least once a day. Quite often three or more times per day. As you may know, I'm a reluctant atheist, so I hadn't prayed in a very long time. 

I'll be writing about the experience on my blog this month. 

This month I will be following James Altucher's suggestion about turning the water ice cold for the last few seconds of your shower. It sounds crazy, but science suggests it really might make you more productive for the rest of the day.

16. Increase my author newsletter subscriber base to 1,600.

I grew my list by just 12 subscribers (my lowest monthly increase so far) in September (and 242 overall this year). Total subscribers now stands at 1526.

I'm cutting this one close.  

If you would like to subscribe to my newsletter and receive writing and storytelling tips, Internet recommendations, recordings of new stories, and more, you can do so here:

17. Write at least six letters to my father.

I wrote two letters to my father in September. Five in all so far. The last one resulted in his attendance at the annual family picnic. An added bonus.      

18. Convert Greetings Little One into a book.

No progress. I am willing to hire someone to take the content of the blog and convert it to book format, but I have yet to find that person. 


19. Record one thing learned every day in 2017.


My favorite thing learned in August is this:

Ted Cruz and Scott Walker used the phrase "Make America Great Again" in their speeches and received cease-and-desist letters from Trump, who tradmarked the phrase in 2012


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


We produced a show at Real Art Ways and a salon show at the East Hartford Public Library, bringing our total number of Speak Up events in 2017 to 14. 

21. Deliver a TED Talk.


I spoke about the important things that teachers do at The Pomfret School in April.

Here is the recording. I still haven't watched it myself:

I've pitched talks to two other TED events. One has rejected my pitch. I still await the other.  

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


I attended a Moth StorySLAM in September at The Once Ballroom in Somerville (where I did not perform but FOUR of my storytelling students took the stage and one of them won!) and a Moth StorySLAM in Flushing (where I took the stage and won), bringing my yearly total of Moth events to 15. 


23. Win at least three Moth StorySLAMs.


I won two Moth StorySLAMs in Boston and two in New York in 2017. My win total now stands at 32.

24. Win a Moth GrandSLAM.

I was unavailable to compete in the Moth GrandSLAM in September, making it the third time that I was forced to pass on competing this year because of scheduling.

Hoping for one more shot before the end of the year.

25. Produce at least 50 episodes of my new podcast Live Better.

I pulled down my first episode after receiving feedback from a friend who works in radio. I'm currently re-recording with a slightly different format.

That same friend has agreed to build me a template for the show. Obviously 50 episodes will be impossible this year, but if I successfully launch the podcast, I will be satisfied. 

26. Perform stand up at least once in 2017. 

I attended the open mic at Sea Tea Comedy Theater in August, not realizing how many comics regularly perform during these open mic nights. Elysha and I arrived about an hour late, and there were 19 comics already on the list. I will need to return next month and perform to complete this goal. 

27. Write a one-person show.


The "writing" for this show is complete. I performed the show at Kripalu, altered slightly so I could teach lessons between stories. 

I'll begin the process of booking a theater for a formal performance now.  


28. Explore the option of teaching a college class.

I met with a professor from a local college and described my proposed class. She approved of my idea and promised to pass the information onto her department head.    

This isn't enough, of course. I need to speak to a department head or higher myself. 

29. Cook at least 12 good meals (averaging one per month) in 2017.

A friend has passed on ideas and recipes for meals that I plan to make. So far I have done nothing.

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

The search for a location has stalled.


31. I will stand in vocal opposition to every negative comment made about age disparities between male and female romantic couplings because I choose to respect a woman’s choices of romantic partner regardless of their age or the age of their partner.

I defended another attack on the Melania/Donald Trump marriage based upon their age difference on my podcast. On the record. Thanks a lot, Rachel. 

You can imagine how hard it was for me to come to the defense of that man. 

32. I will report on the content of speech during every locker room experience via social media in 2017.   


Over the course of the month, I heard no man bragging about sexually assaulting women in any locker rooms (or anywhere else for that matter). This included the locker room at my gym and a locker room at a golf club.  

33. I will stop presenting the heteronormative mother-and-father paradigm as the default parental paradigm when speaking to my children and my students.


Not as hard as I thought. I switched over to "parents" in January and haven't slipped yet.     

34. I will not comment, positively or negatively, about physical appearance of any person save my wife and children, in 2017 in an effort to reduce the focus on physical appearance in our culture overall. 


I've also learned that at least seven other people have adopted this policy, which thrills me.    

35. Surprise Elysha at least six times in 2017.

I surprised Elysha with a specially designed teeshirt with the words "Ruth & Hillary & Michelle & Oprah." written down in front. 

Four surprises so far in 2017.  I currently have one surprise in the works for her.

36. 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.

Our windows were cleaned by professionals, but this does not count. 

37. Optimize our television for a streaming service. 


Apple TV is alive and well in our home, thanks to Elysha. 

38. Set a new personal best in golf.

Not even close in September, even though I am definitely getting better.

39. Play poker at least six times in 2016.

No progress. This annoys me so much. I love to play poker. How have I failed to get a game going? 

40. Spend at least six days with my best friend of more than 25 years.

Four days spent working as DJ's at weddings in total.

I invited him to attend a Moth StorySLAM and to watch a football game with me.

He declined.   

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