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Resolution Update: November 2023

Every month, I report the progress of my yearly goals to monitor progress (or the lack thereof) and hold myself accountable.
The following are the results from November 2023.
I’ve also begun planning my 2024 goals. If you have any suggestions for new or revised goals, I’d love to hear them.


1. Don’t die.

Recent bloodwork indicates excellence.

I have a calcium scoring scheduled for the end of December, which identifies possible arterial blockage. My last score, three years ago,  was a perfect zero, which both stunned and befuddled my doctor, who knows my love for cheeseburgers.

She almost seemed annoyed.

I’m looking forward to another zero in December.

As always, I plan on living forever or die trying.

2. Lose 20 pounds.

No weight was lost in November. Thanksgiving and the four consecutive Thanksgiving leftover dinners didn’t help matters.

My total weight loss in 2023 stands at 37 pounds.

Still well ahead of the original goal of 20 pounds.

I won’t declare victory until I get through the year with sustained weight loss, but at the moment, the goal to lose 20 pounds and my revised goal of 30 pounds have been achieved.

I’m hoping to hit 40 pounds by the end of the year, but three more pounds in a month will be tough.

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


4. Cycle for at least five days every week. 

Done. I cycled for all but one day in November. I was traveling on that day, so biking was impossible.

I’ve also now exceeded 365 rides on the indoor bike in 2023, in addition to at least 53 outdoor rides, meaning I will have averaged more than one ride per day.

5. Improve my golfing handicap by two strokes. 

My handicap at the start of the year was 17.6.

I played 15 rounds of golf in November, including many mornings before work.

My handicap is now 13.8. A significant drop since January and considerably better than my goal.

I still can’t hit the driver, but I had a fantastic lesson last week that might finally make a difference. If only it would warm up enough to play.


6. Complete my eighth novel.

Progress continues, interrupted momentarily by copyedits on my upcoming storytelling book.

7. Write my next Storyworthy book.

Copyedits complete! Final proofreading begins next week.

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

Three books are complete

“Operation Beaver Drop” is going out to publishers soon.

“Rock a Bye Baby” and “Duel in the Sky” will be sent to my agent shortly.

“Rock a Bye Baby” features a female, non-white protagonist.

I’m working on two new books now. Both nonfiction. One is nearly complete.

9. Write a new solo show.


10. Perform a new solo show.

Done. Performed July 30 and 31 and August 1. I’m in the process of scheduling shows in additional theaters for 2024.

11. Write a musical.

My friend Kaia and I are writing a musical that we will also perform, even though I cannot sing. She writes the music and lyrics. She and I write the story.

We brainstormed ideas in August and came up with some exciting ideas. A new concept and some ideas for songs.

I need to write some of the story for Kaia to begin writing music. I have not done any of that writing.

So partner I am…

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

No progress.

13. Write at least four letters to my father.

I wrote a birthday note to my father in March.

One letter has been sent in 2023 so far.

14. Write 100 letters in 2023.


Another 24 letters were sent in November, bringing the total number to 208.

Recipients included students, former students, a podcast host, a children’s camp, six authors, and my kids’ teachers and principal.

15. Convert 365 Days of Elysha into a book.

My production manager is currently working on this project.

16. Read at least 12 books. 

Done. Three books were read in November. A total of 22 books so far in 2023:

“Happy-Go-Lucky” by David Sedaris
“The Groucho Letters” by Groucho Marx
“The Woman in Me” by Britney Spears

I’m in the middle of reading the following books:

“Save the Cat Goes to the Movies” by Blake Snyder
”Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama” by Bob Odenkirk
“Think Like a Monk” by Jay Shetty
“Smart Brevity” by Jim VendeHei, Mike Allen, and Roy Schwartz

Books read so far in 2023.

  1. “Sapiens” by Yuval Harari
  2. “Life’s a Gamble” by Mike Sexton
  3. “The Sea We Swim In” by Frank Rose
  4. “Born a Crime” by Trevor Noah
  5. This Will All Be Over Soon” by Cecily Strong
  6. “Magic Words” by Jonah Berger
  7. “The Science of Storytelling” by William Storr
  8. “Slayers and Vampires” by Edward Gross and Mark Altman
  9. “Hooked: How to Produce Habit-Forming Products” by Nir Eyal
  10. “Tough Sh*t” by Kevin Smith
  11. “From Saturday Night to Sunday Night” by Dick Ebersol
  12. “The Ship Beneath the Ice” by Mensun Bound
  13. “Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t” by Steven Pressfield
  14. “The Wager” by David Grann
  15. “The Other Wes Moore” by Wes Moore
  16. “Million Dollar Maverick” by Alan Weiss
  17. “Going Infinite” by Michael Lewis
  18. “Enough” by Cassidy Hutchinson
  19. “Holly” by Stephen King
  20. “Happy-Go-Lucky” by David Sedaris
  21. “The Groucho Letters” by Groucho Marx
  22. “The Woman in Me” by Britney Spears

17. Read TIME’s 100 Best Children’s Books of All Time

Three more books were read in November.

A total of 21 so far.

I’ve read many of the other books on the list in the past, but I am only counting those books I read in 2023 toward my goal.

18. Write to at least six authors about a book I love. 

Done. I wrote letters to Kate DiCamillo, Stephen King, John Green, Kevin Smith, David Sedaris, and Jessi Klein.


19. Complete the re-recording of Storyworthy For Business. 

“Storyworthy” for Business is complete and available for purchase. Find it and much more at

I want to produce a much-improved version of the course ASAP. Module 1 is now re-recorded but may need to be re-rerecorded. A lot more needs to be done.

The business has been on pause for good reason, but this problem is nearly over. We will be relaunching soon, I hope, with new offers, products, and more.

20. Record the next Storyworthy course.


Three brand-new courses have been added to the Storyworthy platform:

Finding Stories
Anatomy of a Story
Humor: Volume #1

I’m proud of all of them. You should check them out.

21. Produce a total of six Speak Up storytelling events in 2023

Three shows in 2023 so far:

  1. April 22 at the Connecticut Historical Society
  2. May 4, in partnership with Voices of Hope
  3. July 29 at Hartford Flavor Company
  4. November 3 at the Playhouse on Park
  5. November 4 at Wolcott School

We had shows scheduled in October and December but the venues canceled because of bureaucratic nonsense, making the completion of this goal impossible.

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


I spoke at a TEDx event at the University of Connecticut in January. Due to the delay in posting a TEDx Talk from more than a year ago, my University of Connecticut talk will not be loaded onto the TED platform for reasons I don’t quite understand.

I don’t mind. The clicker for the slides was broken, advancing two slides at a time, making for a rather imperfect talk.

I also spoke at a TEDx event in Natick, MA, on April 13. It went quite well. That video should be online shortly.

And great news! I received word that I will be speaking at TEDxBU in April 2024.

I also pitched myself to TEDx events in Harlem, Roxbury, and on the campuses of Yale University, Northeastern University, and Rhode Island School of Design.

TEDx Harlem, TEDx Yale, and TEDxRISD have declined. TEDx Roxbury was canceled. Northeastern has yet to respond.

23. Attend at least eight Moth events with the intention of telling a story.

I attended three Moth events in November—two in Boston and one in NYC.

My name remained stubbornly in the hat at all three slams.

A total of 18 Moth shows attended in 2023 thus far.

24. Win at least one Moth StorySLAM.

Done. I won the Moth StorySLAM in Boston on March 29.

25. Win a Moth GrandSLAM.

I competed in a Moth GrandSLAM in Boston in May and did not win. I also had to go first, which is not exactly fun or conducive to winning.

I competed in a Moth GrandSLAM in NYC in November and did not win.

I was invited to compete in the Seattle GrandSLAM in March and again in October, but traveling cross country was impossible.

I was invited to compete in the Washington DC GrandSLAM in November, but my schedule does not allow me to attend.

I will be performing in the Boston GrandSLAM in December.

I will also be performing in the NYC GrandSLAM in February of 2024, though that won’t help my 2023 goal.

26. Produce at least 24 episodes of our podcast Speak Up Storytelling.

No progress.

27. Perform stand-up at least six times in 2023.

I performed stand-up at the New York City Comedy Festival in November. It went very well.

28. Pitch three stories to This American Life.

Done! I pitched three stories to This American Life in November.

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

I pitched myself to Marc Maron once in November.

One so far in 2023.

30. Send a newsletter to readers at least 50 times. 

Two newsletters were sent in November.

A total of 46 newsletters have been sent thus far in 2023.


31. Clear the basement.

Progress continues and is going well. Large furniture is now removed. Some serious organization of remaining materials is in order.

32. Clean and clear the garage.

A much-needed dumpster or hiring junk haulers will be key to completing this task, but it’s nearly done. And I’ve managed to slip a couple of larger items into nearly empty trash bins, which has helped. Large items need to be discarded, and a pile of Elysha’s school supplies needs to be organized or eliminated, but otherwise, it is almost complete.

33. Furnish and decorate the studio. 


34. Eliminate clothing not being worn and closet bins.



35. Text or call my brother or sister once per month. 


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


37. Take at least one photo with Elysha and me each week.

Elysha and I took many photos together, but every photo had one or both of our kids in the photo.

38. Plan a reunion of the Heavy Metal Playhouse.

No progress.

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


40. Surprise Elysha at least six times in 2023.

Three surprises in November:

  • Tickets to The Nutcracker for Elysha and Clara
  • Flowers sent to Elysha’s workplace
  • An anniversary card under Elysha’s pillow, celebrating the first time we went out together, not as a couple but with friends, which was still a big deal to me at the time.

A total of 21 surprises so far in 2023, including:

  1. Half a dozen birthday cards, all handmade, scattered throughout her life on her birthday
  2. Tickets to the upcoming Lizzo concert
  3. A Pusheen Mystery Box
  4. Goodie bag of Trader Joe’s delights
  5. Coat from Canyon Ranch
  6. Visit from Kathy
  7. Surprise dessert delivered personally to her school
  8. Another surprise surprise dessert delivered personally to her school
  9. Another Pusheen Mystery Box
  10. Tickets to Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, Tina Fey/Amy Poehler, and Jenny Lewis
  11. Flowers following Clara’s dance recital
  12. First-class tickets on the flight back from DC
  13. First-class tickets on the flight to Everett, WA
  14. Pusheen gift box
  15. Tickets to “Back to the Future” on Broadway
  16. Tickets to “Mrs. Doubtfire” at the Bushnell
  17. A collection of simple syrups from Whidbey Island
  18. Rhode Island and Boston weekends planned with friends for the fall
  19. Tickets to The Nutcracker for Elysha and Clara
  20. Flowers sent to Elysha’s workplace
  21. An anniversary card under Elysha’s pillow

41. Play poker at least six times in 2023.

No progress. It’s ridiculous since I love this game so much.

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


No visits in November. Seven total visits in 2023 so far.


43. Memorize the lyrics to at least five favorite songs. 

Four songs memorized so far.

In November, I memorized the lyrics to Taylor Swift’s “You Need to Calm Down” and Elvis’s “Burning Love.”

I’ve also memorized the lyrics to “Lay It On Me” by Vance Joy and “Come a Little Bit Closer” by Jay and the Americans.

I’m still working on Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way,” “Renegade” by Styx (with Charlie and Clara), and “Come On Eileen.”

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



45. Learn the names of every employee who works at my school.

I learned the name of another paraprofessional at our school. I’m struggling to find people whose names I don’t know now.

46. Convert our wedding video to a transferable format.

Done! The wedding video and a great deal of other content were successfully extracted from my ancient Apple laptop. The footage was not removed in perfect order, so some work will need to be done to reassemble the parts of the video, but at last, this goal has been completed.

47. Memorize five new poems.

I’m currently memorizing (and learning to sign) “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost.

This is the only memorized poem (or not-yet-memorized poem) in 2023 so far.

48. Write to at least three colleges about why they should hire me.

I have begun writing the letter, but I wonder if I would still want the job.

49. Complete my Eagle Scout project.

I’ve reached out to the folks who manage the cemeteries in Newington for assistance on this project in March.

No response.

Still need to reach out again.

50. Post my progress regarding these resolutions on this blog and social media on the first day of every month.