Resolution update: February 2017

1. Don’t die.

Still alive. Still kicking. 

2. Lose 20 pounds.

I lost four pounds in February, bringing the total lost to five pounds, mostly because I was sick and lacking an appetite and have been skipping lunch to get things done. 

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

A two-week persistence fever prevented me from achieving this goal, but an illness exemption is allowed.  

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

No progress.

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

Done! Last weekend Elysha and I stayed in a hotel for a night, and thankfully we were on the sixth floor. I wondered if I would've actually taken the stairs with my luggage if I was on the fourth floor. Seems like an exemption in that case is in order. 


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

My editor and I have decided on the next book. Work has begun in earnest.  

7. Complete my first middle grade/YA novel.

The sale of my first middle grade/YA novel will hopefully take place soon (keep your fingers crossed!), and with that sale, work on this book will commence. 

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

Many ideas, but no progress as of yet. 

9. Complete a book on storytelling.

SOLD! Work has begun in earnest.

10. Write a new screenplay.

No progress. 

11. Write a musical.

No progress.

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

I submitted one piece to the New York Times for consideration. No luck. 

On a related note, I sold two more pieces to Parents magazine. 

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

I'm taking notes on one idea as the school year progresses, and I have several other ideas that I am expanding into paragraph summaries. Work on this will likely commence at the end of the school year. 

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.

No progress. Also, I'm in need of behaviors. Last year I tried backing into parking spaces, daily affirmations, and bottle flipping.

Thoughts for this year?

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

I grew my list by 29 subscribers in February (and 66 overall this year). Total subscribers now stands at 1,350. If I continue at this pace, I will exceed 1,600 by the end of the year. 

17. Write at least six letters to my father.

I received a letter from my father this month. I am writing a response now.    

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 February is this:

Johnny Cash's song "A Boy Named Sue" was written by Shel Silverstein. 


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

We produced two shows February: A typical Speak Up event at the Connecticut Historical Society and a special show in conjunction with Voices of Hope that featured the children on Holocaust survivors telling stories about their parents and how their parents' experiences changed them. This brings our total number of shows in 2017 to five.

Things should slow down now.  

21. Deliver a TED Talk.

I've been invited to speak at a TEDx event in April. 

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

I attended one Moth StorySLAM in Boston, as well as a GrandLSLAM in Brooklyn. This brings my yearly total to three.  

23. Win at least three Moth StorySLAMs.

My name was drawn first at the Boston StorySLAM, giving me little chance to win. I finished in fourth place. 

24. Win a Moth GrandSLAM.

I drew the first spot at the Brooklyn GrandSLAM, which meant I had no chance of winning. I finished in fourth place. 

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. To be honest, my biggest problem is I cannot find a moment of quiet in my home to record. 

26. Perform stand up at least once in 2016. 

A local stand up venue has invited me to perform. I'm getting my material ready. 

27. Write a one-person show.

The "writing" for this has been going surprising well and is nearly complete. I don't actually write the show but work it out in my mind and then record finished sections.

Even better, a theater may be interested in having me perform. In preparation, I've been speaking to a director about lighting, set design, etc.  


28. Explore the option of teaching a college class.

No progress.   

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.

No progress.


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.

Done. I had at least two opportunities to do so in February. No one liked what I had to say, but I didn't give a damn.   

32. I will report on the content of speech during every locker room experience via social media in 2017.   


Not surprising, I heard no man bragging about sexually assaulting women in any locker rooms (or anywhere else) in February.  

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 pointed out to my wife that the dress for adults at my daughter's Snow Ball dance ranged from jeans and tee-shirts to tuxedos and little black dresses. While this was admittedly a comment related to physical appearance, I was not commenting on any one person in particular, nor was I judging anyone's decision. I really didn't care what people chose to wear. 

35. Surprise Elysha at least six times in 2016.

I handed Elysha a Cadbury Egg just before she was to take the stage at Speak Up. Nothing more surprising than handing a Jewish woman a bit of Easter candy just before she is to speak to almost 200 people.  

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.

No progress. I can feel the heat creeping out of the windows by the second.   

37. Optimize our television for a streaming service. 

No progress. 

38. Set a new personal best in golf.

No progress until the snow goes away. 

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.

No progress. 

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