01/15 Woody Guthrie’s New Year’s Rulin’s

This time of year always calls for lists, all kinds of lists—“Best of..”, “Worst of …”, “Things for which you’re grateful”, “What you accomplished in 2014”, “Resolutions for the upcoming year”, etc…. We’ve been thinking about lists here at CWW partly because we’re preparing for a couple of “Vision Journaling” workshops and making lists is always a great prompt for journaling, but also because we are trying to identify our own aspirations for ourselves personally and professionally over the next year. I was chatting about lists with some friends while hanging out at the neighborhood Starbucks in Tucson. Kris, a fellow Starbucks traveller (and also a therapist) mentioned one of the best lists ever written—Woody Guthrie’s 1942 “New Year’s Rulin’s”. Apart from the charming and unpretentious hopes that Woody voices in his list, what makes it unique is the fabulous doodles he uses to illustrate each of his aspirations. As Kris said “They’re not only comical but they make the ideas more endearing and memorable. And also easier to relate to.” Kris added that, although she is not an artist, she loved the idea of accompanying each promise with a little sketch, “just a visual thought, really”—that it made the commitment less daunting and more approachable. It also makes the tasks seem more playful and less overwhelming. There are other qualities about Woody’s list that make it appealing,–it’s a reminder of down to earth essentials coupled with more noble intentions. I particularly love the increasingly expansive sequence that begins with “LOVE MAMA, LOVE PAPA, LOVE PETE, LOVE EVERYBODY”.
Love mama, papa, pete, and everybody
Love mama, papa, pete, and everybody
So, as you begin 2015 and record some things you would like to accomplish in the upcoming year, draw a little visual thought next to each (as you can see from Woody’s list, it need be nothing more than a tiny stick figure) and post these intentions where you will be able to see them. Notice if adding the extra “visual thoughts” doesn’t make you feel more hopeful and willing about the tasks they represent. Here is what’s on Woody’s list: 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 CLOTHES OFTEN 13. READ LOTS GOOD BOOKS 14. LISTEN TO RADIO A LOT 15. LEARN PEOPLE BETTER 16. KEEP RANCHO CLEAN 17. DON’T 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 DON’T 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