Resolution update: May 2018

PERSONAL HEALTH

1. Don’t die.

Heart attack scare turned pulled chest muscle only proved (after many tests) that my heart is super healthy. And yesterday's cardiologist follow-up confirmed it. 

2. Lose 20 pounds.

Two more pounds lost in May, bringing my total to ten. Halfway to the goal.  

3. Eat at least three servings of fruits and/or vegetables per day. 

I had three servings of fruits and/or vegetables on 22 of 31 days in May. 

4. Do at least 100 push-ups, 100 sit-ups, and 3 one-minute planks for five days a week.

I missed two weeks of push ups after my heart attack scare turned out to be a pulled chest muscle.

5. Identify a yoga routine that I can commit to practicing at least three days a week.

No progress.

6. Stop using the snooze button.

Done and highly recommended. 

Science is right. Snoozing is a terrible practice that you must end immediately. Get the hell out of bed once you are awake. You will feel a lot better.    

WRITING CAREER

7. Complete my seventh novel before the end of 2018.

My agent and I have settled on the next novel. Progress has begun. 

8. Complete my second middle grade/YA novel.

I've submitted my first middle grade novel to my editor and am awaiting word. I can't choose or start the next book until the first is complete. 

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

No progress. 

10. Write a proposal for a memoir.

My agent and I have decided upon the memoir, and progress has begun. 

11. Write a new screenplay.

No progress.

12. Write a musical.

The musical originally planned for a summer camp is no longer needed.

I have an adult musical in mind that my writing partner has been asking me to write for a long, long time, so perhaps this is the time.

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

I've submitted one piece for consideration in May (a piece about Mother's Day) for a total of three so far. All have been rejected.

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

No progress, though Elysha has told me what this book should be. 

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

No progress.

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

No progress. I'm still looking for possible behaviors to adopt. Suggestions welcomed. 

17. Increase my author newsletter subscriber base to 2,000.

Just 11 subscribers added in May. A total of 111 added since January 1. At this pace, I will miss my goal of 2,000.  

If you'd like to subscribe to my newsletter and receive tips on writing and storytelling, as well as links to amusing Internet miscellany and more, please subscribe here:

18. Write at least six letters to my father.

One letter written in May, bringing my total to two. 

19. Write 100 letters in 2018.

Eight letters written and mailed in May. Thirty-one in total so far. 

20. Convert Greetings Little One into a book.

No progress.  

21. Record one thing learned every week in 2018.

Done! My favorite from May:

Lazzaro Spallanzani, a priest, physiologist and zoologist in late 18th century Italy conducted a series of careful and ingenious experiments on bats, first noting that blinded bats could fly and avoid obstacles just as well as seeing bats.

He built tiny goggles for the bats to wear in order to prove this.

He also shellacked bats to determine if their skin could somehow sense minute air currents that allowed them to see.

This is the same scientists who fashioned tiny pants for frogs to determine if the semen of male frogs had any role in the fertilization of eggs. 

Amazing.    

STORYTELLING

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

Two shows produced in May: Infinity Hall and Hacker Theater on the campus of Miss Porter's School. Our 2018 total stands at four. It looks like we will produce exactly a dozen this year. 

23. Deliver a TEDx Talk.

Done! I spoke at a TEDxNatick salon event in May.

I've applied for two more TEDx conferences and await word. 

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

No Moth events in May. Only three so far in 2018. 

On the bright side, I've won all three. Also, the summer beckons. It's much easier to make it to slams in the summer.  

25. Win at least three Moth StorySLAMs.

I won my 35th StorySLAM in NYC in February. I have not competed in a StorySLAM since.

One down. Two to go. 

storyslam.jpg

26. Win a Moth GrandSLAM.

Done twice over! I won my fifth GrandSLAM in February and my sixth GrandSLAM in April.

27. Produce at least 25 episodes of our new podcast Speak Up Storytelling. 

Episode #1 and episode #2 are now available. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.  

If we don't skip more than five weeks for the rest of 2018, this goal will be achieved.

28. Perform stand up at least four times in 2018. 

I performed in at an open-mic night at a local comedy club and was also paid to headline a show in May (my first paid comedy gig!), bringing my total number of stand up performances in 2018 to three. 

29. Pitch my one-person show to at least one professional theater.

Done! My one-person show has been pitched and been accepted by the Speak Up, Rise Up Storytelling Festival. I'll be performing on Tuesday, August 7 at 9:30pm on their Main Stage.

You should come!

30. Pitch a new Moth Mainstage story to the artistic director of The Moth. 

No progress.

NEW PROJECTS

31. Write a syllabus for a college course on teaching. 

No progress, but I am frustrated, annoyed, and disappointed by developments with a local college in terms their curriculum for student teachers, so I'm doing a lot of thinking on this issue. 

32. Cook at least 12 good meals (averaging one per month) in 2018.

No progress. 

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

No progress. 

MISCELLANEOUS

34. Pay allowance weekly.

Done! 

35. Ride my bike with my kids at least 25 times in 2018.

No progress. But the weather is finally ripe for bike riding. I hope to get the bikes ready this weekend. 

36. I will report on the content of speech during every locker room experience via social media in 2018. 

Done. I spent 21 days at the gym (including the locker room) in May, and I did not hear a single comment related to sexually assaulting women.  

37. 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. 

It was pointed out to me that on Boy vs. Girl, the podcast I produce with Rachel Leventhal-Weiner, I told a story that included a description of the size of a man. His size, I felt, was relevant to the story (I was sitting beside him on an airplane), but it's true that I commented on his physical appearance. 

My first slip of 2018, though I clearly need to carve out a storytelling exception to my rule, since physical appearance is admittedly relevant to storytelling at times. When you're looking to create images in the mind of your listeners, physical description is sometimes required.  

38. Surprise Elysha at least six times in 2018.

I surprised Elysha twice in May.

I gave her a Soda Stream for Mother's Day (continuing my string of kick-ass, almost-everyday-use gifts, including her ukulele, her Instant Pot, and her reportedly amazing hair dryer). 

I also surprised her with a refrigerator display on Charlie's last day of his fifth year of life.

Four down. Two to go.

39. 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.

I've received some more reasonable estimates for this project. It might actually be doable.     

40. Clean the basement. 

I threw a lot of stuff away in May in preparation for a full cleaning later this year. 

It's looking good. 

41. Set a new personal best in golf.

I played several rounds of golf in May, including in the rain on Sunday morning. 

None of my rounds have come close to eclipsing my personal best. 

42. Play poker at least six times in 2018.

I hosted a poker game in May which went until about 1:30 AM. It should count as two games. 

One down. Five to go. 

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

No progress, though we booked another wedding, bringing our total this year to three. 

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

Done.