Woody Guthrie’s New Year’s Rulin’s

woody guthrie resolutions

On January 1, 1943, the American folk music legend Woody Guthrie jotted in his journal a list of 33 “New Years Rulin’s.” Nowadays, we’d call them New Year’s Resolutions.

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

I just love these. They combine the mundane issues of personal hygiene with the sublime esoterics of loving everybody and winning the war against fascism.

There were five that stood out for me:

a. Write a song a day.

b. Stay glad

c.  Have company but dont waste time

d. Read lots of good books

e. Keep hoping machine running

That last one is so right – Wake up and fight! – It is an exhortation to the great battle that goes on every day – the fight to be true to your ideals and to make the world a better place.

What a great list of rulin’s!!!!

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