Manuscripts/Mixed Material [Letter from Woody Guthrie to Alan Lomax, September 19, 1940]
Top Floor of New York
Just thought I'd write you a few more lines tonight on as many different subjects as I can get down in one line. Mainly about a few thoughts that I been thinking about making up songs and stuff like that. A little dog just got run over down below in the streets a taxi hit him. I could make up a song about how it sounded to hear the little dog yelping to the little boy a watching out of the third floor window across the street. I had a big dog once and all of the kids played with him and liked him and he would go and get their base ball when they knocked it too far or he would run in their football games and stand around with his eyes shot over and his ears stuck about half way up and his tongue running in and otu of his mouth, his head cocked over sideways like and watching the kids shoot marbles. But an old neighbor lady with something haywire in her head went and poisend the dog and it killed him and the kids all had a big funeral for old pooch they called him and they dug him a nice grave and painted his name on a flat rock and it was a plumb heartbreaking affair. You could write a song about that and it would contain enough of all of the high and low feelings to put it over if the blame was properly placed on the old lady that poisoned the pooch. I think one mistake some folks make in trying to write songs that will interest folks is to try to cover too much territory or to make it too much of a sermon. A folk song ought to be pretty well satisfied just to tell the facts and let it go at that.