Resolution Update: July 2016


1. Don’t die.

I have pneumonia, but it didn't stop me from enjoying four days in Maine with Elysha to celebrate our tenth anniversary, and it didn't keep me from the Guns N' Roses concert at Foxboro Stadium a day after my diagnosis. I also attended in a Moth StorySLAM and played a round of golf. 

I'm indestructible.  

2. Lose 20 pounds.

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.

I'm scheduling a meeting to restart my yoga practice this month. 


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 submitted to my agent. If she approves, we send it onto the editor.

8. Write at least three new picture books. 

One of my now former students and I are writing a picture book. I am editing two previously written picture books. I expect that the other new picture books will be written during the school year. 

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

Done! Three chapters, an outline, and comparisons have been sent to my agent. I await feedback. 

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. 

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). I am still writing about my experience, which is to say I am still staring at the same three paragraphs and failing to complete them. 

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

Done! My subscriber list now stands at 1,004 readers. 

I finally figured out how to include a one-time pop-up subscription offer on my website, which caused my subscriber list to jump quickly.  

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 with your email address to receive new blog posts in your imbox 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 two showcase presentations in July (following a weeklong series of workshops), including one in partnership with Voices of Hope, an organization that seeks to capture and retell the stories of survivors of the Holocaust and their subsequent generations.   

This brings our total number of shows to ten 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 talks another TEDx event in 2016 and await word. 

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, Laugh Boston in Boston, and Once Ballroom in Somerville. 

This brings my total number of Moth events in 2016 to 15.   

21. Win at least three Moth StorySLAMs.

I attended three StorySLAMs in July. My name was pulled from the hat at Laugh Boston, where I finished in second place. My name remained in the hat at the other two shows. 

I have attended a total of 12 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 last month. 

It's been a tough 2016. Having my name come out of the hat 25% 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. 

I'll be performing in the next NYC Moth GrandSLAM in August. 

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.

No progress

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

I contacted the apartment complex where we lived from 1989-1992 (the location of the Heavy Metal Playhouse), hoping there might be a room to rent onsite for the reunion. No luck.

I'm seeking a location for the reunion nearby 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. 

No progress.

30. Set a new personal best in golf.

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. I was practicing at the range 3-4 times a week until pneumonia slowed me down a bit.

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

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 canceled the game I scheduled for July do to lack of attendance.  

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. 

Done. I started to comment on the appearance of a man in the sidecar of a motorcycle in Maine but stopped myself short.

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.