Resolution Update: October 2018


1. Don’t die.

Healthy as an ox.

2. Lose 20 pounds.

I lost 12 pounds at the peak of my illness, then gained back 6 pounds as I started to eat again. Then I gained another 6 pounds, so now I’m 11 pounds down and 9 pounds from 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 18 of 31 days in October.

Not great. A week at camp with my students didn’t help.

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


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

I spent a full week at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. I did not take a single yoga class. 

6. Stop using the snooze button.

Done and still 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.     

That said, the cats kept me in bed for an extra 15 minutes on at least three days in October. Not snoozing but fully awake and completely non-productive.


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

Progress continues. Shipping off the first half to my agent this week, I hope. 

I said that last month, too.  

8. Complete my second middle grade/YA novel.

I've begun revising my first middle grade novel, and it’s going to take some time. Things were slowed down significantly because my editor left the company and my new editor needed time to get up to speed. Finishing a second middle grade novel is looking highly unlikely this year because of these unforeseen delays.  

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

I've begun work on a nonfiction picture book on a famous beaver drop in the 1950's.

I’ve also begun work on a picture book based upon a famous lullaby.

I also have plans to consult with a well established picture book writer this week.  

10. Write a proposal for a memoir.

My agent and I have decided upon the memoir, and the writing has begun. In lieu of a proposal, I’m just going to write the damn thing, which could take as much as a year.

11. Write a new screenplay.

Writing has commenced.

12. Write a musical.

Writing has commenced.  

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

Nothing submitted in October. Three submitted so far.

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

No progress.

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.

I spent October dipping into pop culture by reading the front page of the TMZ website every morning in an attempt to understand the cravings for the Kardashians and reality television.

I will be writing about it soon.

I need a second behavior to begin ASAP. Any suggestions?

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

I added 30 subscribers added in October, and a total of 408 added in 2018. I'm just 43 away from my goal. If I manage to acquire one subscriber per day, I’ll hit my goal with ease.

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

18. Write at least six letters to my father.

No letters written in October. Three letters written thus far.

19. Write 100 letters in 2018.

Just two letters written and mailed in October, bringing my total to 50 in 2018.

I need to get my ass in gear.

20. Convert Greetings Little One into a book.

I have begun researching the companies that convert blogs to books. I have not found any that I like.


21. Record one thing learned every week in 2018.

Done! My favorite from October:

Mister Rogers always mentioned out loud that he was feeding his fish because a young blind viewer once asked him to do so. She wanted to know the fish were OK.


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

One show produced in October at Infinity Hall in Hartford.

Our total number of shows now stands at 11. 

23. Deliver a TEDx Talk.

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

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

Two Moth StorySLAMs in October, bringing the total number of Moth events to 12 in 2018. 

25. Win at least three Moth StorySLAMs.

Victory in October! From first position no less!

A total of two wins so far in 2018.

26. Win a Moth GrandSLAM.

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

I also placed third in September’s GrandSLAM at The Music Hall of Brooklyn.

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

Episodes #24 dropped this week and is now available wherever you get podcasts. Listen to a terrific story from storyteller Laura Terranova. The reception to the podcast has been excellent, and our audience is growing fast.

Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts, and please leave us a rating on Apple Podcasts.

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


I’ve performed stand up six times in 2018 so far, including my first paid gig.

29. Pitch my solo show to at least one professional theater.

Done! I’ve performed my solo show at The Tank as part of the Speak Up, Rise Up Storytelling Festival in NYC.

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

I’m deciding on a story to pitch.


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

No progress.

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. 


34. Pay allowance weekly.

Done! Kids are all paid up.

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

Done! Four rides in October, bringing the total for the year to 25. Charlie loves riding his bike, and Clara is getting a lot more comfortable on her big girl bike. 

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

Done. I spent 28 days in a locker room in October, 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 (except in service of a story while appearance is relevant), in 2018 in an effort to reduce the focus on physical appearance in our culture overall. 

Done. Easy as pie. Never a need to speak about a person’s physical appearance.

38. Surprise Elysha at least six times in 2018.

Done! I've surprised Elysha a total of nine times in 2018.

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. Especially if I had more money.

40. Clean the basement. 

More than halfway done this job, but I’m going to need to invest a solid chunk of time completing this project.

41. Set a new personal best in golf.

I played half a dozen rounds of golf in October, but I did not come close to my personal best. 

Back in August, I played one round that was only four holes long due to green aeration. I had three pars and a bogie for a total of 14. Technically my best score ever, but perhaps it should not count. 

42. Play poker at least six times in 2018.

Three games of poker in October, all played after the kids went to bed at camp, bringing my total to five games this year.  

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

We worked a wedding in October, bringing my total to four. I also tried to arrange another get-together, but he was not able to do so.

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