How to be water-ful, like Paterson

No, with “water-ful” I’ m not referring to your blood or urine or any other bodily fluid.

We’ll move onto the water bit in a sec.

But you should watch Paterson, a film by Jim Jarmusch because Paterson is who you want to be.

That is to actually be content more of the day than the 12.785% that you probably are, which although seems a bit drab, is probably true.

Paterson is occupationally a bus driver, which may not be something you want to match as an occupation (or maybe you do, as you get great pay for driving- I can see myself doing it for some time, queue the “shock horror you need to get a career” gasps).

He writes poems let me also add, though not as you might think, “great”, “clever”, makes-you-ponder-while-staring-at-the-sky poems. Indeed, I might say begrudgingly with despise for the word “normal”, they ARE normal poems. They could have been written for or by any-old hoo-ha.

(Although this one is pretty sweet):


How embarassing. Embarassing? It’s beautiful!

So are pumpkins, if you ask me. So round and chubby. A chubby pumpkin, ha ha.

But aside from that, the other poems aren’t as aforementioned, striking.

While watching the film, I thought to myself, so why are THESE the focus of the film? These poems that even I could have come up with (I’m not a rubbish poet, or maybe I am, it’s all subjective…). Almost naively I thought that the film would allude to Patterson becoming a genius poet. But you see, I was wrong.

So then, why even be him? 

Why aspire to be anyone that’s not amazing at what they do or find interesting?

In short, because there is so much beauty in normality, in ordinariness.

My favourite line in the film is:

“water falls like the hair on a young girl’s shoulders”

which is beautiful. Kind of eerily beautiful because of the young girl part, but I love it. Jarmusch’s depiction of water throughout the film, how it fits and moulds according to what it is placed into, echoes Paterson’s character, for example, his way of dealing with his illicit dog, Martin, that, with a twinge of satirical humour repays him for taking it out on a walk by chewing up the only copy of his work. A lesson here, then, is to be more like water.

If in doubt, be water. 


The film is a tribute to the majority of the population who don’t write “amazing” poems, who are most probably not amazing at anything. In Paterson’s case, people who write for everyone, making words about lovely things accessible for everyone, not just the degree holder in English Literature.

It is a film about being happy about taking your dog out for a walk and then weirdly, in a dream-line way, being told by a group of scary gangsters that your dog is cool.

It is about being happy for your wife who has decided that she wants to dress in black and white, sell black and white cupcakes and paint the rest of the house to match her (and also wants to be a millionaire guitar player- because why the hell not?).


So there you have it, if you want to appreciate it how beautiful ordinary life is and can be- and you really should if you want to more than the average of aforementioned 12.785% content with your day, get some tips on how to. Watch this subtly incredible film. Go on.