My #BeReal guest today is Allie Burke.
Allie is one of my favorite people to follow on facebook maybe because she looks like I would imagine my own daughter will look when she grows up. Not only is she gorgeous she is a strong woman and a force for good.
I recently read her book Paper Souls and it is such a good read that I finished it in a day. I hope you support another wonderful Stigma Fighter and Author.
I am passionate about many things, which I think is a fact that comes with the territory of artists. There are so many things that make me tick, and truthfully, I don’t understand those that have a passion for something.
My deepest rooted passion is writing. Everything measurable that I have succeeded to accomplish in my life has essentially been tied back to that. The ability, and gift—I think—to bleed life onto the page. I am a writer because it makes me feel human, an editor because it is a calling of mine to help people. I transfer that passion into everything I do, most importantly, to my advocacy for people living with schizophrenia. It is odd, I think, for others when they find out I have such a serious mental illness. It’s always a conversation I don’t necessarily want to have, not because it makes me uncomfortable (it’s pretty difficult to do such a thing), but because I have an instinct to protect people, especially the ones I love. It is a primary instinct to protect those I love from the dark world which exhibits things like schizophrenia, sexual abuse, drug addiction, domestic violence, and criminal behavior—all things I have been directly exposed to in my twenty-nine year old life. The people that have been blessed with positive and happy lives don’t deserve to be pushed into that world, even if it is indirect, and I think I hold this subconscious belief that it is my responsibility to protect them from it, if I can. Which is why the schizophrenia talk is so hard on me. They don’t know what to say, or worse, they don’t believe me. I think that’s most definitely the thing people are most surprised to learn about me. That I have paranoid schizophrenia. Upon first glance, I appear to be a sweet girl who is often smiling or cracking some ridiculous joke. But that’s essentially what it’s about, isn’t it? That us schizophrenics are just like everyone else. Or we try to be. Which is why I push myself to be honest with people whenever possible. To, instead of telling a half-truth, tell them that I have paranoid schizophrenia when asked why exactly I write for Psychology Today, or how. Because being real means being real all the time, not just when it is convenient for you. If I were to go out to the Internet to claim to be an advocate or activist, and then hide from my own advocacy in real life, I would be a hypocrite and a fraud. That is really what being real means to me. Holding nothing back and putting your best foot forward in everything that you do. If I died tomorrow, I could say that I lived a good life, and I could say that I left my mark on this world, because I’m a real person, and not just a cut out.
Loving or hating what I have to say about the world is up to you, but at least you can always count on me saying it.
About the Author
An American novelist, book critic, and magazine editor from Burbank, California, Allie Burke writes books she can’t find in the bookstore. Having been recognized as writing a “kickass book that defies the genre it’s in”, Allie writes with a prose that has been labeled poetic and ethereal.
Her life is a beautiful disaster, flowered with the harrowing existence of inherited eccentricity, a murderous family history, a faithful literature addiction, and the intricate darkness of true love. These are the enchanting experiences that inspire Allie’s fairytales.
From some coffee shop in Los Angeles, she is working on her next novel.
Visit Allie at
TRUTH IN FICTION: Paper Souls by Allie Burke
Bestselling Author Allie Burke, diagnosed with Paranoid Schizophrenia in 2011, is announcing the release of Paper Souls, a literary fiction novel that exhibits the reality of psychosis in the surreal style she has come to be known for.
Burke uses Paper Souls to shed light on an illness that is so often shoved under the rug and forgotten, by utilizing her own experiences with the illness and producing a fictional account of one woman’s struggles to appear normal in a world that never seemed normal to her in the first place.
The novel holds nothing back against its raw, emotional backdrop, telling of Emily Colt’s damaging experiences in mental institutions, her attempts to hold on to her failed relationships, and follows her from one city—and country—to the next in her quest to find normalcy. It keeps a close eye on her recovery through holistic healing, and falls backwards, as Emily falls back into psychosis, again, and again.
“Literature is about awareness,” Burke says in an interview. “Writing in any form is about awareness, to keep society aware, and no one seems to be aware of the trials the people with this illness have to navigate. No one seems to be aware of how many schizophrenics commit suicide every year, or care. That’s why I wrote Paper Souls.”
Paper Souls is available in e-book and paperback from Booktrope Editions on Amazon.
3 thoughts on “#BeReal – ALLIE BURKE”
I like your candid expressions. One person that we should never pretend to is ourselves. Keeping it real is really easier than pretense in the long run.
I totally agree with what you say about being an advocate in real life, as well as on the internet, Allie. Advocating for things on the internet is great because you can reach a wide audience and help lots of people. But talking to people you see face-to-face can be even more difficult, and also very powerful. I remember very clearly, back in 1986, when a coworker told me one day that she was struggling with bipolar disorder. (She used the term manic depression). It was the first time anyone had ever talked to me about such an illness, and I was surprised, because this woman was so cheery and funny and “normal”. We talked a bit about her illness and her medication, and she was so honest and direct about it all. Before that, I’d been slightly afraid of mental illness, but after that day, I began to understand how prevalent it is in society, and also how people with mental illness can function just like everyone else. As always, thank you for your brave post, Allie.
Just beautiful! Such an amazing post. I am in awe of the path you’ve chosen to take in this world where so many are in fear of facing their own paths in life. (Myself included 😉 ) Your dedication is a life lesson for the rest of us. Thank you! G-uno