Resolution Update: July 2017


1. Don’t die.

Foul ball nearly clocked me in the head at a minor league baseball game, but my cat-like reflexes save me.   

2. Lose 20 pounds.

I remain stuck at six pounds lost. The summer is full of good food. 

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. I return to Kripalu next month for a full week. Perhaps I'll take a class every day and get started.  

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

I took the elevator in a parking garage with Elysha. We were four flights up, and I thought about asking her to take the stairs with me, but it was hot and we were running late. 

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. They may be better as a series of graphic novels.    

9. Complete a book on storytelling.

Work almost complete. 

10. Write a new screenplay.

No progress.

11. Write a musical.

Done! 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.  

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 28 subscribers in April (and 187 overall this year). Total subscribers now stands at 1,471.  

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 July. Two in all so far.      

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 July is this:

Highway signs have sides equal to the hazard ahead. Railroads have circles (infinite number of sides) because getting hit by a train really sucks. Stop signs are octagons because running one also sucks. 


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

No shows in July. Our total number of Speak Up shows in 2017 is 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 three Moth events in July (two StorySLAMs in NYC and one in Boston), bringing my yearly total to 12.

23. Win at least three Moth StorySLAMs.

Done! I won a Moth StorySLAM in Boston in July. It was my third win of the year and 31st win overall. I placed second at a Moth StorySLAM in NYC and failed to get selected at the third slam.

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. I may have a producing partner. 

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.

A friend has passed on ideas and recipes for meals that I plan to make this month. 

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

The search for a location continues.


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.

French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron's wife Bridgette Macron is 25 years older than him and recently in the news when Trump told her that she was in good shape. As a result, she was in the public eye for a bit, and in two cases, I had to interject when one woman and one man commented negatively on the age gap between the couple.  

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. 

I had many negative thoughts about the physical appearance of Chris Christie in July (due to some questionable actions on his part) but refrained from making any of them.  

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 2016.

Two surprises so far in 2017.  Flowers and a Cadbury Egg. I have two surprises in the works for her currently. 

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.  

One of my anniversary presents is her promise to get the Apple TV working, which would complete this goal.  

38. Set a new personal best in golf.

I shot a 48 for nine holes on Sunday, which is one stroke off my best round ever. Things are starting to come together with my new grip and swing. I also tied with my friend, Andrew, with the 48, which was both satisfying (he shot a 37 the previous week) and frustrating (so close to beating him). 

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 with me tonight. He declined.   

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