Books·Canadian

If I Knew Then

In her new book, Jann Arden talks about how the power, gravity and freedom she's found at fifty-seven are superpowers that she believes all of us can unleash.

Jann Arden

Digging deep into her strengths, her failures and her losses, Jann Arden brings us an inspiring account of how she has surprised herself, in her fifties, by at last becoming completely her own person. Like many women, it took Jann a long time to realize that trying to be pleasing and likeable and beautiful in the eyes of others was a loser's game.

Jann weaves her own story together with tales of her mother, grandmother, great grandmother and the father she came close to hating, to show her younger self — and all of us — that fear and avoidance is no way to live. "What I'm thinking about now aren't all the ways I can try to hang on to my youth or all the seconds ticking by in some kind of morbid countdown to death," she writes, "but rather how I keep becoming someone I always hoped I could be. If I'm lucky one day a very old face will look back at me from the mirror, a face I once shied away from. I will love that old woman ferociously, because she has finally figured out how to live a life of purpose — not in spite of but because of all her mistakes and failures." (From Random House Canada)

Jann Arden is a multi-platinum recording artist and has won eight Juno Awards over her celebrated career. She recently starred in the fictional television series Jann on CTV. She is also the author of Feeding My Mothera memoir of caring for her mother after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

Why Jann Arden wrote If I Knew Then

"I would never want to be young again, ever. There's nothing about it that's appealing to me, Maybe my boobs. I think I wrote that my boobs might have been appealing, and my neck. But I love the sureness. When you gather all these experiences and are able to draw from them when you're doing any kind of problem-solving or when you're doing any kind of repairing things, you have a lot to draw from. You don't at 25. You don't even at 35. And I do write in the book, it's like you start becoming a person at 40. Most women that I talk to — most men too — they agree. They're like, 'Oh yeah, you finally fit into yourself.'

I would never want to be young again, ever.

"Every decade that goes by, I feel like a completely different person. I just do. I think about decisions that I make and the way I go about my day-to-day life and it's completely different from decade to decade — how I navigate problems and relationships and job opportunities. There's just things — the television show, for example — I would never have done 10 years ago. Television had been offered to me over the last 25 years. And I just had never done it because I didn't feel capable. I just didn't feel like I could do it."

Read more from her interview with The Next Chapter.

Interviews with Jann Arden

Jann Arden on her newest memoir, If I Knew Then: Finding Wisdom in Failure and Power in Aging. 18:59
Juno Award-winning singer-songwriter, actor and author Jann Arden is back with her fifth book, If I Knew Then: Finding Wisdom in Failure and Power in Aging. She joined Tom Power to talk about the beauty of aging, learning from mistakes, and why she's found new power and freedom at the age of 58. 22:55
Singer Jann Arden shares the heartbreaking story of her aging father determinedly trying to break out of his care facility to make his way home. 3:22
Spend an hour with one of Canada's most beloved female artists: Jann Arden. It's late January of 2010 and Jann Arden is heading out onstage for the second of FOUR nights in a row at Massey Hall in Toronto. She and her band are about to play songs off her TENTH album, Free, which would go on to earn her a Juno Award nomination for "Artist of the Year." By this time, she has already won EIGHT of her ten Junos AND a star on Canada's Walk of Fame. Jann Arden is a true Canadian star and she's at the top of her game. As you'll hear, her banter with the crowd is warm and very funny. Nearly 3000 closest friends in Massey Hall are about to eat her up and have the time of their lives. So join us as we revisit a true Jann Arden love-in from her glory days. 1:18:24

 

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