Husband, Father, Poet, Author, Novelist, and Mental Health Advocate are just a few terms that describe the Combat Hippies very own, Allen Minor. When it comes to mental illnesses, he is no stranger to the struggle and in his latest book, “The Borderline Between Life and Poetry”, Allen details everything from toxic relationships, to mental disorders, veteran issues, and love.
“I want to raise awareness for all mental health and encourage others to express themselves”, said Allen when asked why he writes.
The inspiration to write his book started when Allen was invited to attend a spoken word poetry workshop held by MDC Live Arts in Miami. The course was led by world renowned theater artist and director Teo Castelallanos. After meeting once a week for about four months, The Combat Hippies were formed and eventually led to the creation of “Conscience Under Fire”, a spoken word theater performance.
Prior to working with the group, Allen was diagnosed with multiple mental health disorders, including Borderline Personality and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and was in what he described as his”darkest place”.
In being vulnerable and expressing the demons of his past, Minor found strength and wanted to share. This led to competing and winning multiple poetry slams around Florida. In order to memorize his poems, Allen wrote them in a notebook. What was once thought of as random pages of expression would later evolve into “The Borderline Between Life and Poetry”.
The book is meant to show others dealing with mental health issues that they are not alone. As an Army Veteran who served as Mortuary Affairs during the Iraq War, Minor hopes that Veterans receive this message as well. He is familiar with the alienation and stigmatization of Post-Traumatic Stress and suggests expression as the key to Post-traumatic Growth. As expressed in the opening poem of his book entitled “Honesty“,
“You need to take your tears, put them on a string and wear them as a pearl necklace…if you can do that the past truly becomes yours. Crumple it up and throw it away.”
Although expressing oneself is extremely difficult, the author encourages others to do so because it was the most powerful tool in his experience.
“The Borderline Between Life and Poetry” contains poems from his child hood that detail his experience in different group homes, an absent father, and a mother who suffered from mental illness herself. Although some of them are uplifting, not all of his poems have happy endings. He believes that this is authentic to life and stays true to the saying “its not all sunshine and rainbows”.
The response to his work has been positive. As on the comments section of this video on the authors official Facebook Fan-page, people are embracing his work and sharing the message.
Allen remains humble throughout his growing success and strives to constantly improve himself and well as his writing. For now, his future plans involve continued promotion of “The Borderline Between Life and Poetry”, getting a novel published, and continue doing shows with the Combat Hippies.
The video below is a clip of “My Daily Cocktail” performed during the 9/11 showing of “Conscience Under Fire”. For more videos, check out his Youtube Channel and for your own copy of “The Borderline Between Life and Poetry”, click the link and purchase it on amazon.
Video Credit: Andrew Cuthbert