Woody Guthrie’s 33 New Year’s Resolutions From 1943

Posted on December 31, 2013 | by Mark Segal Kemp

In one of Woody Guthrie’s journals, dated Jan. 1, 1943, the great American folksinger put as much wisdom into his New Year’s Resolutions as he did in songs like “Pastures of Plenty,” “Bound for Glory,” or “This Land is Your Land.”

Titled “New Year’s Rulin’s,” the 33-item list, which comes to us courtesy of WoodyGuthrie.org, included the personal (“Send Mary and kids money”), the whimsical (“Dream good,” “Dance better”), the humorous (“Wash teeth if any”), and the hopeful (“beat fascism”). But mostly, it included lots of basic practical self-advice: (“Work by a schedule,” “Write a song a day”). For a musician or artist of any kind, Woody’s Rulin’s make the perfect refrigerator note.

 1. Work more and better
 2. Work by a schedule
 3. Wash teeth if any
 4. Shave
 5. Take bath
 6. Eat good — fruit — vegetables — milk
 7. Drink very scant if any
 8. Write a song a day
 9. Wear clean clothes — look good
 10. Shine shoes
 11. Change socks
 12. Change bed cloths often
 13. Read lots good books
 14. Listen to radio a lot
 15. Learn people better
 16. Keep rancho clean
 17. Dont get lonesome
 18. Stay glad
 19. Keep hoping machine running
 20. Dream good
 21. Bank all extra money
 22. Save dough
 23. Have company but dont waste time
 24. Send Mary and kids money
 25. Play and sing good
 26. Dance better
 27. Help win war — beat fascism
 28. Love mama
 29. Love papa
 30. Love Pete
 31. Love everybody
 32. Make up your mind
 33. Wake up and fight

The video above is the BBC's excellent documentary on Guthrie's life and legacy. Happy New Year!

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