Resolution update June 2017


1. Don’t die.

Broken wisdom tooth. Ear infection. And tonight, I nearly fell off the stoop carrying an air conditioner. The universe was out to get me last month, but still alive and kicking.  

2. Lose 20 pounds.

I gained two more pounds in June, mostly due to illness (aforementioned ear infection and dental surgery) that kept me from the gym and ice cream, bringing the total loss for the year to six pounds.

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


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

I participated in two yoga classes while working at Kripalu in May. Not exactly meeting the goal. 

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

I took the elevator to and from my dental surgery. Absolute terror kept me from remembering on the way up, and thanks to powerful drugs, I have no recollection of coming down.

Otherwise, it's been the stairs every time. 


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

Work continues in earnest. Due date in has been moved back to October.   

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 started work 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. Eventually.   

9. Complete a book on storytelling.

Work continues in earnest. Due date in July.

10. Write a new screenplay.

No progress.

11. Write a musical.

Done! I will attend the table reading of the show, "Back in the Day," today, and it will be performed next Saturday.

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.  

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. 

I'm currently looking for my next behavior. Ideas anyone?

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

I grew my list by 17 subscribers in April (and 159 overall this year). Total subscribers now stands at 1,443. If I continue at this pace, I will exceed 1,600 by the end of the year. 

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 one letter to my father in June.     

18. Convert Greetings Little One into a book.

No progress. 

19. Record one thing learned every day in 2017.

Done! My favorite thing learned in June is this:

The actors who played Mr. and Mrs. Bueller in 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off' fell in love on set and got married after the film came out.


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

We produced one show in June at the CT Historical Society. This brings our total number of Speak Up shows in 2017 to nine.

21. Deliver a TED Talk.

Done! I spoke about the important things that teachers do at The Pomfret School in April. It went well! Hoping the producers recorded the talk well, and it will result in a quality video. 

I've pitched talks to two other TED events. 

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

I attended two Moth events in June (a StorySLAM in Boston and The Thread at Yale), bringing my yearly total to nine.

I plan to attend a lot of slams this summer.   

23. Win at least three Moth StorySLAMs.

I won a Moth StorySLAM in Boston in June. It was my second win of the year and 30th win overall.

24. Win a Moth GrandSLAM.

It looks like my next opportunity to compete in a Moth GrandSLAM will be in September.  

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.

I expect to relaunch this summer. 

26. Perform stand up at least once in 2016. 

August 21. Sea Tea Comedy Theater. I'm kind of terrified.  

27. Write a one-person show.

The "writing" for this show is nearly complete. 

A local theater is interested in having me perform. I'll be meeting with the director in the summer. 


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 2016.

No progress.

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

The search for a location has begun. 


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.

No opportunities to vocally oppose this unfortunate prejudice in June.    

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).  

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

Done. 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. 

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

35. Surprise Elysha at least six times in 2016.

Two surprises so far in 2017.  

Flowers and a Cadbury Egg. 

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.

We've hired someone to clear our windows, but this does not count. 

37. Optimize our television for a streaming service. 

We upgraded our cable television interface to a voice activated, much more intuitive system that may fit the requirements of a streaming service. This upgrade is tremendous. Credit Elysha for the upgrade as well as the reduction in our cable/Internet bill as well.  

This might be declared done in a month or two if we continue to be satisfied with this arrangement. 

38. Set a new personal best in golf.

I played half a dozen rounds of golf in June. I've grown accustomed to my new grip. I have yet to set a new personal best, but I am improving.     

39. Play poker at least six times in 2016.

No progress. 

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

Two days spent working as DJ's at weddings in June.  

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