1. Don’t die.
Survived a terrible lightning storm alongside The Intrepid and a harrowing taxi ride across Manhattan. Avoided catching monkey pox and my children’s lingering colds. Huzzah.
2. Lose 20 pounds.
I lost no pounds in July. I’ve lost a whopping four pounds in 2022.
3. Do at least 100 push-ups, 100 sit-ups, and 3 one-minute planks for five days a week.
Done, which wasn’t easy given we spent four days in New York City. Doing push ups, sit ups, and planks in the hotel’s business center in the early morning hours was awkward.
4. Cycle for at least 5 days every week.
I failed to achieve this goal for the one week in July while on vacation. Otherwise rode almost every day and multiple times on many days.
5. Establish my golfing handicap, then lower that handicap by at least 2.
Handicap established at the beginning of the year was a whopping 35.4.
Handicap is up from a 20.8 to 23.4 after I began taking lessons, which will help me play better in the long run but are not assisting me in the now.
Still much lower than my handicap at the beginning of year.
6. Complete my seventh novel.
“Someday is Today” is in bookstores now. Have you purchased your copy yet? Downloaded your audiobook?
I’m well on my way to finishing the revision of my middle grade novel. I’ve also started working on my next adult novel in earnest.
I’ve also partnered with a friend on a new book.
Between the middle grade novel and the new adult novel, one should be completed by the end of the year, I hope.
7. Prepare “Storyworthy 2” or update “Storyworthy” or both for potential sale.
DONE! The follow up to “Storyworthy” – “You Are Storyworthy” – won’t be my next nonfiction title, even though it’s written. I’ll be writing a different storytelling book first for strategic reasons. Still, the book is done and will be published eventually.
8. Write/complete at least three new picture books, including one with a female, non-white protagonist, and one protagonist who is not neurotypical.
I’m in the middle of a new picture book entitled “Hug a Fish.” It features a female, non-white protagonist.
I’m also working on a partially written manuscript from 2021 entitled “Who Put the Baby in a Tree?”
After some discussion with my agent, I have two other picture books to write. I’m almost finished one.
9. Complete a memoir.
I have two memoirs in progress:
One about the two year period when I was arrested, jailed, and tried for a crime I did not commit, which also led to homelessness then a pantry off a kitchen that I shared with a goat. I was also the victim of a horrific robbery at that time that left me with a lifetime of PTSD amongst other awfulness.
Also participation in an underground arm wrestling and gambling ring.
The second is about the two year period in which a lowly band of anonymous cowards attempted to destroy my teaching career.
My agent and I have decided that I’ll pursue the second one first. The recent attacks on education, combined with the rise of cancel culture, makes it unfortunately timely and likely of interest to publishers.
10. Write a new screenplay.
I spoke to my writing partner, who has been derailed from our project by several other projects. We hope to resume writing soon.
11. Write a solo show.
I’m working on a solo show based upon my arrest and trial for a crime I didn’t commit, but I have another idea:
List all the things I’ve ever stolen on a chalkboard and then tell a story about each one. Cleverly construct a narrative that encompasses all the stories.
12. Write a musical.
Outline received from my writing partner, Kaia. We plan to work on the project this summer, using the memoir pages to inform the work.
13. Submit at least five Op-Ed pieces to The New York Times for consideration.
One essay submitted to the New York Times in July for consideration. Rejected.
Six essays submitted so far to the New York Times in 2022.
14. Write at least four letters to my father.
First letter started. Little progress.
15. Write 100 letters in 2022.
DONE! A total of 20 letters written in July, including letters to former students, the actor playing Elphaba in Wicked on Broadway, my therapist, my neighbor, my children, and a friend.
A total of 107 letters written in 2022 so far.
16. Convert 365 Days of Elysha into a book.
I’ve passed this project onto my production manager, but she’s busy with other things at the moment.
17. Read at least 12 books.
DONE! I’ve read 17 books in 2022 so far.
I read the following books in July:
“I’ll Show Myself Out” by Jessi Klein
“How to Tell a Story” by The Moth
“The Lightning Thief” by Rick Riordan
“Adventures in the Screen Trade” by William Goldman
“The World’s Worst Assistant” by Sona Movsesian
I’m currently reading six books:
“Telephone” by Percival Everett
“Think Like a Monk” by Jay Shetty
“Index: A History Of The” by Dennis Duncan
“The Areas of My Expertise” by John Hodgman
“The Groucho Letters”
I may abandon one or more of these books because I am not enjoying them.
My list of completed books now includes:
“The World’s Worst Assistant”
“Adventures in the Screen Trade”
“I’ll Show Myself Out”
“How to Tell a Story”
“The Lightning Thief”
“In the Great Green Room: The Brilliant and Bold Life of Margaret Wise Brown”
“It’s So Easy”
“The Office BFFs”
“Making Numbers Count”
“The Passion Economy”
“Empire of Pain”
“The Anthropocene Reviewed”
18. Write to at least six authors about a book that I especially like.
Letters written to Stephen King and Michael Lewis in April.
Two letters so far.
19. Complete the recordings for my new business for at least two target consumers.
Recording for the first set of target consumers (corporate folk) is done. I’ll ultimately need to re-record everything because I can see all the places for improvement, but for now, it’s done and is very good.
Just not excellent yet.
Once we launch, I will begin recording videos for our next target customer. This is unlikely to happen in 2022 given all the work we have ahead of us.
Also, my new basement office and recording studio is complete. We need to add some sound panels to reduce the echo, upgrade the microphone and camera set ups, and add some things to the walls, but it’s functional.
20. Engage with LinkedIn at least once per week.
Success! I received a ton of direct messages in July and responded to each of them. I also posted original content onto LinkedIn twice.
21. Produce a total of 6 Speak Up storytelling events.
Five shows produced so far in 2022.
We produced a virtual show in collaboration with my school on March 19.
We produced a live, outdoor show in partnership with the Hill-stead Museum on on July 13.
I produced two live storytelling shows at The Mount on July 16 and 17.
We produced my book launch event – including storytelling – on July 30.
We’ll be producing a charity storytelling event for Wolcott School on September 17.
We’ll be producing “Red Talks: Presented by Confessions of a Mensturator” on October 8.
I’ll also be producing a show in conjunction with a storytelling weekend workshop at Copper Beech Institute on October 28-30.
Our annual Voices of Hope show is scheduled for November 6.
22. Pitch myself to at least 3 upcoming TEDx events with the hopes of being accepted by one.
I pitched to a total of five TEDx conferences back in April.
One has passed on my pitch. Awaiting word from the other four.
I also spoke at TEDxCornell in April. Video will be available soon.
I’ve also helped three clients get accepted to TEDx conference this year.
23. Attend at least 6 Moth events with the intention of telling a story.
DONE! I attended one Moth StorySLAM in July.
Eleven Moth events so far in 2022.
24. Win at least one Moth StorySLAM.
I won a StorySLAM in New York in February.
I won a StorySLAM in Boston in June.
25. Win a Moth GrandSLAM.
I won Boston’s Moth GrandSLAM at The Wilbur on April 26.
I won New York City’s Moth GrandSLAM at The Music Hall of Williamsburg on May 16.
It was my eighth and ninth GrandSLAM championships.
26. Produce at least 12 episodes of our podcast Speak Up Storytelling.
Recording was going to commence in February and March. The recording of the audiobook of “Someday Is Today” instead replaced our podcasting time for a while.
Recording was going to commence in April and then in May and then in June and then July, but recording for other things filled that time.
August. We’ll record in August.
27. Convert my YouTube channel into an actual channel.
Progress! My production manager has begun to structure and re-design the channel, and I’ve been accumulating content for release. I’ve also been curating the content, removing material that is no longer relevant.
I’ll begin posting new stories in August. When this happens, I’ll consider the job complete.
28. Perform stand-up at least 3 times in 2022.
I have a list of open mics that are currently running in Connecticut. More than enough to resume.
I’ll try to find the courage to get back on the stand up stage.
29. Pitch a story to This American Life.
DONE! I pitched one story to This American Life in April.
30. Pitch myself to Marc Maron’s WTF podcast at least three times.
Two pitches made so far in 2022.
31. Send a newsletter to readers at least 25 times (every other week).
Two newsletters sent in July. A total of 17 sent so far in 2022. Ahead of schedule.
32. Clear the basement.
Enormous progress made, but some backsliding had happened with the completion of the recording studio. My contractor removed many, many things from the basement before launching into his work, but in the process, he also moved a bunch of things to another room and left them understandably disorganized and messy.
Another minor clean up is needed.
33. Organize the children’s books.
Books have been removed from the kids’ bedrooms and remain divided into three bins:
- Keep in rotation for kids/students (now been returned to shelves).
- Store for future grandchildren (now stored in the basement)
- Give away to those in need (now donated).
34. Text or call brother or sister once per month.
35. Take at least one photo of my children every day.
36. Take at least one photo with Elysha and myself each week.
Done! Thanks to vacation, a visit from a friend, and a tiny effort on my part, this goal was accomplished in July.
37. Plan a reunion of the Heavy Metal Playhouse.
A date has been chosen for August, but because of vacations, I will be rescheduling for the fall.
38. I will not comment, positively or negatively, about physical appearance of any person save my wife and children, in 2022 in an effort to reduce the focus on physical appearance in our culture overall.
Done. Easy-peasy. More than two dozen people have also begun adhering to this goal in 2022 alone.
39. Compliment one person every day on a topic unrelated to physical appearance.
This turns out to be easier than I thought, at least as long as I’m teaching. I constantly give my students positive feedback, and I compliment my own children and Elysha quite a bit.
In addition to complimenting my students and family, I also complimented many, many clients, lots of friends on the golf course, many storytellers at Moth events, my neighbor, a McDonald’s employee, an employee at the Harry Potter, our tour guide to Liberty Island, and several people at my book event.
I nearly missed one day in July but squeezed in a compliment for Clara just before bed. First time I hadn’t complimented someone at some point throughout the day without even thinking about it.
40. Surprise Elysha at least six times in 2022.
One surprise in July:
For our anniversary…
A signed first edition of “From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler” by E.L. Konigsburg. One of Elysha’s favorite books.
Surprises in 2022 also include:
- A well timed Starbucks caramel macchiato
- Pusheen Club box, filled with an assortment of movie-themed Pusheen gifts.
- A complete set of Smith College china
- A card on her dashboard following a less than ideal April vacation.
- A surprise visit to her classroom on an especially challenging day to bring her a cupcake.
- A card mailed to her school with thoughts of encouragement and love, written by “The Universe.”
- A planned weekend getaway (later this summer) for her and a friend to Water’s Edge, a resort and spa on the coast of Connecticut.
- Flowers on Mexican Mother’s Day
- Pusheen Club box, featuring garden-themed Pusheen gifts.
- A signed first edition of “From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler” by E.L. Konigsburg
That’s ten surprises so far in 2022.
41. Play poker at least six times in 2022.
Two games in total in 2022. Two games scheduled for July that were cancelled for lack of players. Damn vacations.
42. Spend at least six days with my best friend of more than 30 years.
Two days spent together in July. Planning a new project together.
Four days spent together so far in 2022.
43. Create an emergency preparedness kit for each car.
Done! Emergency preparedness kits purchased. I’ve also added several necessary items to each.
44. Memorize the lyrics to at least 5 favorite songs.
I’ve officially learned the words to “Fat Bottomed Girls, “Come On Eileen,” and “Mr. Blue Sky.”
I’m not working on “Come a Little Closer” by Jay and the Americans.
45. Learn to play the piano by practicing at least three times a week.
46. Convert our wedding video to a transferable format.
Another task passed off to my production manager, who has been working on it. A lot trickier than expected.
47. Memorize 5 new poems.
Still working on “I’m Nobody! Who Are You?” by Emily Dickinson. I’m foolishly failing this goal.
I also made a list of poems that I’ve committed to memory, to ensure they remain committed to memory through occasional practice.
48. Write to at least 3 colleges about why they should hire me.
49. Understand Instagram better.
Progress! My intern and I had a conversation, where she taught me about Instagram Stories and Reels. Huzzah!
I suspect that there is more to know, but who better to teach me than a high school senior?
50. Complete my Eagle Scout project.
I started plotting the completion of this task in February. I’m considering moving the project from Blackstone, MA to something more local, but I’m still working on it.
A recent blog post on this subject garnered me many willing volunteers.
51. Post my progress in terms of these resolutions on this blog and social media on the first day of every month.