Greenville Acres Care Center resident pens poetry book

Local author Brian Moilanen uses poetry to examine the challenges of living life with bipolar disorder. Moilanen will be signing copies of his latest collection of poems at Robbins Book List in Greenville on April 12. — Daily News/Mike Taylor

GREENVILLE — Brian Moilanen, diagnosed with bipolar disorder and also a “brittle diabetic,” resides at Greenville Acres Care Center on W. County Farm Road.  Even within this somewhat cloistered environment, Moilanen finds a wealth of inspiration for the poetry he has for years been writing.

On April 12, Moilanen will be at Robbins Book List, 320 S. Lafayette St. in Greenville, to sign copies of his latest collection of poetry. The anthology, titled “Triumph or Tragedy,” features poems that range over a diverse variety of topics; love, loss, the challenges and insights gained from institutional life — all are examined with the unflinching eye of someone on “the inside.”

“The theme of the book is spirituality,” Moilanen said. “But even that becomes overshadowed with mental illness. It asks, ‘Where does a person go from here?’”

This is Moilanen’s second collection; his first — “Intricate Emotions; the Downside of Discursiveness” — was published in 2010.

Moilanen describes himself as a Christian, a “spiritual, very fair” person. He didn’t discover the joys of the writing life until later in life.

“I really struggled through high school,” he said. “I just made it through with C grades, but then I discovered how glorious the world could be with regard to education.”

He served in the U.S. Army in the 1980s, then worked a string of jobs; landscaping, carpet cleaning, fast food and grocery store stock person.

His writing career blossomed as a result of his musical endeavors. As a singer-songwriter in a Christian band, Moilanen penned the lyrics to many of the group’s songs.

“My buddy in the band said my lyrical ability compared to my singing ability,” Moilanen explained. “I started dabbling in poetry, and then started to get more organized. Someone suggested I write a book, so I did.

“People can use words to accomplish what they want in life,” he said.

Moilanen tries to maintain realistic expectations with regard to the sale of his book, but admits that, if he’s in “dream mode,” he has his eye on a new Chevy Camaro.

According to Kevin Powell, who manages Robbins Book List where the April 12 signing will be hosted, the Greenville store is dedicated to providing local artists and writers with a launch pad for what could evolve into a full-time career.

“Robbins Book List is committed to supporting local talent,” Powell said. “We stock about 75 local authors’ books and 20 local musicians’ CDs. Success doesn’t debut at the top of any bestseller’s list. It begins at home, in the small towns and communities, and spreads and spreads until hopefully these artists become household names.”

Moilanen’s book is also available at Amazon.com.

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