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Every month I report the progress of my yearly goals in order to monitor progress (or the lack thereof) and hold myself accountable.
The following are the result from April 2021.


1. Don’t die.

Fully vaccinated. Following CDC guidelines. Wearing a bike helmet. I’m killing it.

2. Lose 20 pounds.

Our NordicTrack exercise bike is now being replaced after forever. Thank goodness.

I can’t quite exercise like I want to since the pandemic has kept me from entering the gym for more than a year and weather, temperature, and darkness  has kept me from riding my bike as often as I’d like.

It’s killing me.

I received my email yesterday from NordicTrack with details on my replacement. Finally.

That said, I’ve lost 6 pounds so far.

It should be more.

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


4. Cycle for at least 5 days every week. 

I was only able to ride my bike for a total of 16 days in April while waiting for parts for our NordicTrack.

5. Set a new personal best in golf.

Several rounds of golf played. I came within one shot of my personal best. No lost balls, so I just needed to land my approach shots better.


6. Complete my seventh novel before the end of 2021.

Progress continues. Sending the first four chapters to my agent this weekend. My agent has requested some of the book in order to garner a sale, so I kicked my ass into second gear.

7. Complete “Someday is Today” before the end of 2021. 

Progress continues. Due in August so I’d better get my butt moving.

8. Complete “Storyworthy 2” before the end of 2021.

I sent the nearly completed version of this book to my agent for her review. I await word on her thoughts.

9. Write/complete at least three new picture books, including one with a female, non-white protagonist, and one protagonist who is not neurotypical.

I began writing my first picture book of 2021. Nearly finished.

10. Write 40,000 words of a memoir.

Progress! Nearly 6,000 words written!

11. Write a new screenplay.

No progress.

12. Write a solo show.

Work continued in earnest. I didn’t meet with my collaborators in March or April, but it’s simply because I’m making solid progress and want to wait until I stall out to meet with them.

13. Write a musical.

Work continues. Slowly.

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

No progress.

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

No progress. I am told, however. that Lavar Burton has a podcast where he reads speculative fiction.

I may submit something there.

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

No progress. I still need to write about my experiences with ASMR and my reading of 50 Shades of Gray from last year.

If you have suggestions on something I should try or adopt, please let me know.

17. Increase my newsletter subscriber base to 6,000 (from 4,497).

I added 48 subscribers in April  for a total of 4,746.

If you’d like to sign up for my newsletter, you can do so here:

18. Send a newsletter to readers at least 25 times (every other week). 

Three newsletters sent in April.

Nine newsletters so far.

Still on pace to hit my goal.

19. Write at least six letters to my father.

Two letters in total in 2021.

20. Write 100 letters in 2021.

Eight letters written and sent in April. Two to authors who I don’t know but adore. Six to students.

A total of 25 so far in 2021.

21. Convert 365 Days of Elysha into a book.

No progress.

22. Complete and release my limited episode podcast on “Twenty-One Truths About Love.”

DONE. Completed and published. You can listen to the five episode series in the Speak Up Storytelling feed.


23. Produce a total of 6 Speak Up storytelling events.

Elysha and I produced our third show of 2021 on April 24. We have another show scheduled for June 5.

We’ve also partnered with The Hill-stead Museum in Farmington, CT for our first live show in more than a year, outdoors.

August 18 with an August 19 rain date.

24. Pitch myself to at least 3 upcoming TEDx events with the hopes of being accepted by one.

TEDx conferences for the fall of 2021 are now opening up. Pitching will commence.

I will be speaking at TEDx Berkshires on July 24.

25. Pitch myself to Master Class at least three times in 2021. 

No progress.

26. Attend at least 5 Moth events with the intention of telling a story.

Done! I attended one Moth StorySLAM in April, bringing my total to 5 events in 2021.

Boy do I miss the live shows.

27. Win at least one Moth StorySLAM.

DONE! I won my 51st Moth StorySLAM in February. Certainly not the same as a live, onstage StorySLAM, but it’s always an honor to tell a story to an audience of any kind.

28. Win a Moth GrandSLAM.

I did not win my March Moth GrandSLAM, but I did very well. I was forced to perform first, which limited my chances of winning considerably.

I’ve won Moth StorySLAMs from first position, but I’ve never won a Moth GrandSLAM, nor have I seen anyone win a GrandSLAM, from first position.

Hopefully I’ll get at least one more chance this year depending on the backlog of storytellers in The Moth’s queue.

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

Two episodes produced in April. A total of 13 episodes so far in 2021. Still ahead of schedule.

30. Perform stand-up at least 3 times in 2021.

No progress.

31. Pitch at least three stories to This American Life.

No progress.

32. Pitch myself to Marc Maron’s WTF podcast at least three times.

No progress.

33. Produce at least 12 new videos for my YouTube channel in 2021. 

No videos produced in April. One video so far in 2021.

34. Explore a means of producing my storytelling instruction asynchronously for an online platform.

DONE! Partners found. Contracts signed. We are on our way!


35. Print, hang, and/or display at least 25 prints, photos, or portraits in our home.

This has very much become an Elysha job, so my job is to nag her about getting it done. I have so many incredible prints given to me by Elysha that remain sitting in a box.

Kind of killing me.

But on a positive note, two of the main rooms where most of this material will be hung has now been freshly painted.

36. Assemble an emergency preparedness kit.

I purchased survival straws that make contaminated water safe to drink in January.

That is all.

I still have a long way to go.

37. Clear the basement.

Several items removed every week in April along with trash pickup. Also several new items added.

Incrementalism at work.


38. Call brother or sister once per week. 

No calls in April. I did start reading my sister’s novel, though.

I am a terrible brother.

39. Take at least one photo of my children every day.


40. Take at least one photo with Elysha and myself each week.

No photos taken of Elysha and myself in April.

I’m really failing at this goal so far.

41. Plan a reunion of the Heavy Metal Playhouse.

No progress, but an online reunion feels quite doable now.

42. I will not comment, positively or negatively, about physical appearance of any person save my wife and children, in 2021 in an effort to reduce the focus on physical appearance in our culture overall.


I had an awkward moment when someone I know well asked me about the physical appearance of another person, and I had to explain my policy to that person, thus making that person feel bad for making such comments in the first place.

But this is the purpose of the policy:

Push back on our culture’s obsession with appearance.

43. Surprise Elysha at least six times in 2021.

I surprised Elysha once in January by sending flowers to her while at work on her birthday. They were reportedly some of the best flowers she has ever received.

I surprised Elysha with a Pusheen knit hat in February. It was actually a replacement hat after the one I purchased for her birthday did not fit.

Two surprises so far in 2021.

44. Play poker at least six times in 2021.

My April poker game was cancelled due to a lack of players.

Two games so far in 2021.

I can’t wait to play live poker again.

45. Spend at least six days with my best friend of more than 30 years.

We missed our chance during April vacation to see each other. We have a wedding in May that we will DJ together, but we need to do a much better job of this.


46. Play music in class.

Music took a bit of a nose dive in April, simply because it fell off my radar.

This is the purpose of these goals:

Remind me of what the hell I’m supposed to be doing.

May will be better.

47. Learn to play the piano by practicing at least three times a week. 


I averaged a little more than 3 days of practice per week in April.

48. Convert our wedding video to a transferable format.

Efforts were made again. Progress was still zilch. I’m going to need a professional of some kind to assist. I can’t get the file extracted from this 18 year-old Mac.

Know anyone a person or company that specializes in this sort of thing?

49. Memorize 5 new poems.

I’ve memorized “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost. Admittedly I knew more than half of it before I began, and I will continue to need to reinforce it before I am sure that it’s committed to memory for good, but it’s essentially done.

I’m still working on “In Flander’s Field” by John McCrae. Nearly done.

50. Write to at least 3 colleges about why they should hire me.

No progress.

51. Understand Instagram better.

No progress.

52. Complete my Eagle Scout project.

No progress.

53. Post my progress in terms of these resolutions on this blog and social media on the first day of every month.