Resolution update: September 2016


1. Don’t die.

Survived four days at Camp Jewell with 103 fifth graders. I got a cold but that was it. 

2. Lose 20 pounds.

STILL 17 pounds down for the third month in a row. 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 took my daughter to Pajama Yoga in September. It was not fun, and it probably doesn't count. 


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, I'm not sure if any of these will be my next novel. I am completing final revisions on my next book, so I can't make that decision until the process is complete. 

7. Write a proposal for a middle grade novel.

Done! The agent and her team love the book. Some minor revisions are needed, and then we hope to have an offer.

8. Write at least three new picture books. 

One of my now former students and I are writing a picture book. Now that we are back in school, work has commenced again. 

I am also editing two previously written picture books.

The other new picture books will be written during this school year. 

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

Done! Four chapters, an outline, and comparisons have been re-sent to my agent. She LOVES it. Hopefully a publisher loves it just as much.  

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.

12. Publish at least one Op-Ed in The New York Times.

I've 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) and wrote about it in August. It actually received a lot of attention from readers.

In September I engaged in a month of daily affirmations. I will be writing about this experience in October. 

I need to select one more behavior that I oppose before the end of the year. Suggestions are welcomed. 

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

Done! My subscriber list now stands at 1,135 readers. I've gained almost 400 subscribers in 2016. 

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 to receive new blog posts in your inbox 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 shows at the Connecticut Historical Society and the Cragin Memorial Library in September, bringing our total number of shows to 14 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:

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

Done! In September, I attended Moth StorySLAMs at Laugh Boston and Housing Works in NYC. 

This brings my total number of Moth events in 2016 to 21.  

At Housing Works, I had the pleasure of witnessing what I think was the lowest score ever assigned to a story: 

21. Win at least three Moth StorySLAMs.

I attended two StorySLAMs in August. My name was pulled from the hat once.

And I won. I finally broke through in 2016.  

I have attended a total of 17 Moth StorySLAMs in 2016 thus far but only performed four times. The results of this year:

  • I had my named pulled first, making it almost impossible to win.
  • I tied for first (and lost on the tiebreaker). 
  • I finished in second place.
  • I finished in first place. 

Even with my recently victory (my 24th overall), it's been a tough 2016. In previous years, my name has been drawn from the hat better than two-thirds of the time. Having my name come out of the hat less than 20% 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. 

23. Launch at least one new podcast.

Background work (podcast logo, hosting service, website, etc.) continues. I've also begun recording and structuring shows for the future. 

I'm really 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.

I cooked two new meals for Elysha in August thanks to Blue Apron and a friend who was kind enough to pass on meals to me.

I made barbecue pork burgers with onion straws and corn on the cob. I also made curried catfish with coconut rice, green beans, and a raisin chutney. 

I could easily make both again. 

One meal to go. 

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

I'm still seeking a location for the reunion near the Heavy Metal Playhouse (since the apartment complex does not have a room to rent) 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. 

I'm hoping Elysha will take care of this during the fall.

30. Set a new personal best in golf.

I played a lot of golf in September.

As stated previously, 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.

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

31. Play poker at least six times in 2016.

I played one game back in April. 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. 


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.