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Resolution update: May 2021

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 May 2021.


1. Don’t die.

Definitely still alive.

2. Lose 20 pounds.

Our NordicTrack exercise bike is still being replaced after forever. I understand that the pandemic has stretched supply lines and made certain parts hard to find, but this is ridiculous.

Add to this a pandemic that is still keeping me out of the gym, and my exercise regime has not been as effective as it could be.

It’s killing me.

That said, I’ve lost 6 pounds so far. But no pounds in May.

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 18 days in May while waiting for parts for our NordicTrack. Weather, scheduling, and my broken NordicTrack have made this goal impossible.

5. Set a new personal best in golf.

Several rounds of golf played. I came within one shot of my personal best again. I’m beginning lessons next month and getting fitted for new clubs in mid-June.


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

Progress continues. My agent responded positively to the chapters thus far. Editing is required, but progress is good. That said, this might not be the next book that we sell. I have a memoir, half a novel, half of another novel, and another memoir all in various states of completion, so any one of them (or a combination of them) could be the next one sold.

My agent is maneuvering and strategizing now.

Nevertheless, writing continues.

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

Progress continues. Due in August so it’s progressing in earnest now.

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

DONE! I sent the first draft of this book (it might be two books) to my agent for her review. Given that I finished another book on storytelling before the book I have under contract, I may need to wait a bit before we sell Storyworthy 2, but it looks promising.

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’ve begun writing my first and second picture books of 2021. One is nearly finished. The other is outlined. Excited about both.

10. Write 40,000 words of a memoir.

Progress! Nearly 7,000 words written!

11. Write a new screenplay.

No progress.

12. Write a solo show.

Work continues in earnest. I didn’t meet with my collaborators in March, April or May, 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.

My partner, Kaia, and I have shifted away from our original idea to a new one, and work has begun with greater earnest. The original idea is still good, but this one is just as good or better. It’s also the topic of my new memoir, so there is some serious synergy between the two projects.

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.

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 34 subscribers in May for a total of 4,780.

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). 

One newsletter sent in May, but three sent in April.

Ten newsletters sent so far in 2021.

Still on pace to hit my goal.

19. Write at least six letters to my father.

Two letters in total sent in 2021.

20. Write 100 letters in 2021.

A total of 14 letters written and sent in May. One to an author who I don’t know but adore. Ten to students. Two to soon-to-be retirees. One to a friend.

I also received a letter from the grandparent of a student – in the mail – and boy was it lovely, thus confirming for me the value of this goal.

Receiving letters is wonderful.

A total of 39 so far in 2021. Almost on pace for 100.

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.

DONE! I pitched talks to TEDx events in New Haven, Boston University, and Salem University.

I await word.

I will be speaking at TEDx Berkshires on July 24.

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

I reached out to the CEO of MaterClass on Twitter to pitch my class. This was my first pitch of 2021.

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

DONE! I attended one Moth StorySLAM and one Moth GrandSLAM in May, bringing my total to 7 events in 2021.

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 won my seventh Moth GrandSLAM in May.

I9. Produce at least 25 episodes of our podcast Speak Up Storytelling.

No episodes produced in May. A combination of factors, including baseball and illness, kept us off the air in May.

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, but my friend, David, has a solid 5-10 minutes of material and is ready to give standup a shot. As soon as open mics are running again, we’ll be there, ready to perform.

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.

I sent an email to Marc, asking him to consider me for his podcast. It was my first pitch of 2021.

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

No videos produced in May. One video so far in 2021. But I will be recording content for a new business that I am launching with a partner, so this may need to wait.

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 have now been freshly painted, and furnishing of these rooms is nearly complete.

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 May along with trash pickup.

Incrementalism at work.


38. Call brother or sister once per week. 

No calls in May or in 2021.

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.

Photos taken in two of the four weeks of May.

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.

Done. Piece of cake.

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.

I sent Elysha some especially awesome flowers in May that caused her colleagues to comment repeatedly about the quality of the arrangement.

I surprised Elysha with weekend plans on Martha’s Vineyard for later this summer.

Four surprises so far in 2021.

44. Play poker at least six times in 2021.

Two games so far in 2021.

I’ve proposed the first live game in more than 18 months for later this month. Most if not all of my friends are vaccinated and the positivity rate in Connecticut is less than 1% at this time.

It’s good to live in a state with reasonable people.

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

Bengi and I Dj’d a wedding in May.

One day spent in 2021 so far.


46. Play music in class.

Done. I wish I had played more, but we listened to several musicians as well as the song, “Yes, We Have No Bananas” several times.

Long story.

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 May.

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.

I need someone who can excavate ancient files from ancient hardware.

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 Flanders Field” by John McCrae. For the third month.

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.