jann jann bo-bann...
i bought jann arden's book if i knew, don't you think i'd tell you a couple of weeks ago, cause i knew nobody would get if for me for christmas. ok, that's not really why i bought it, i bought it cause i wanted it now, but as it didn't show up in my stocking, i think it was a good call.
you should probably know before i go any further - i love jann arden. i love her music, i love listening to her talk to the audience on her live albums, i love seeing her interviewed, especially by vicki gabareau, and i know if ever we met, we'd be best friends. so i loved her book, even before i read it. and reading it only made me love her more. gosh, she's funny. she's self-deprecating, has a pronounced sense of irony, is down-to-earth in ways you'd never expect, is despairing of humanity, and hopeful at the same time. plus, she loves her cats. and her family.
the book is composed of exerpts from her on-line journal. i had never read it, or even heard about it, but i will be visiting from now on. i'm not entirely sure about this, but i think jann chose her favourite entries from a specific period of time. (notice how we're on a first-name basis?)
it was perhaps a mistake to read it all at once. in retrospect, i think i would have enjoyed it more if i had read it as it was probably meant to be read, a couple of entries at a time. some of it can become repetitive, especially since most of it isn't a recounting of her day to day life, but rather a stream of consciousness articulation of her personal philosophy. (kind of.)
the language she uses in her journal is obviously less poetic than that in her songs, but you can sense the songwriter lurking in the background. most of it is written as it would be spoken, and that gives it a conversational feel - almost a dialogue rather than a monologue.
i was struck by how closely her feelings mirrored mine on certain subjects. for example, she seems frustrated by big unwieldy problems such as world hunger and war, feels helpless to change them, and then feels guilty about living a life of ease while others are suffering so much. i was surprised by her honesty regarding her occasional pessimism and perhaps even despair. I mean, not all the book was devoted to this stuff, and she did have a lot of positive and constructive things to say, but frankly, I never thought a "star" would send out a message that was less than cheerful and inspirational. but that's the whole point with jann arden - she's not a star in the traditional sense. she's something else altogether.
ps : the cover art and the drawings throughout are all done by jann. don't you just hate people who are wildly creative in more than one medium? you can check out some of her other stuff on her site.