Woody Guthrie's New Year's resolutions
What are your resolutions for 2012? Please, something other than “go to the gym” because, let’s not kid ourselves: we know that’s not going to happen. I recommend adding “regularly read SUNfiltered” to your resolution list. If still looking for an inspiration for resolutions, get inspired by this timely and brilliantly whimsical list of 33 new year’s resolutions set by folk singer Woody Guthrie in 1942 or as it should be called “life rules” because it’s a pretty good guideline for living a virtuous (yet fun) life, especially number 26: Dance better. Overall, there’s also a certain sense of prudence and levelheadedness to Guthrie’s goals that recalls this sensible to-do list written by Johnny Cash (My favorite: 2. Kiss June), which I blogged about here earlier.
In related news, after years of getting snubbed by his home state of Oklahoma for his communist sympathies (insert my eye rolling here), Woody Guthrie is finally getting his proper due from The Sooner State. With a kickoff celebration in March, The George Kaiser Family Foundation have begun work in Tulsa on a museum to honor this awesome folk singer by displaying his work recently purchased from his children:
There are scores of notebooks and diaries written in his precise handwriting and illustrated with cartoons, watercolors, stickers and clippings; hundreds of letters; 581 artworks; a half-dozen scrapbooks; unpublished short stories, novels and essays; as well as the lyrics to the 3,000 or more songs he scribbled on scraps of paper, gift wrap, napkins, paper bags and place mats. Much of the material has rarely or never been seen in public, including the lyrics to most of the songs. Guthrie could not write musical notation, so the melodies have been lost.
His influence continues to resonate today: One of my all time favorite albums is Wilco and Billy Bragg’s “Mermaid Avenue” whose songs were composed entirely from unheard lyrics written by Woody Guthrie.