How does that old saying go? Something about a fine line between madness and genius, or something like that.
That fine line may have been crossed by Marsha Mehran, an acclaimed author who threw herself into writing but slipped into madness. She died in solitude, in a self-imposed isolation that was supposed to be about writing a book.
Ms. Mehran took a house in Lecanvey, in Mayo, telling the estate agent that she wanted to reside in that area while writing a book. The area would seem well suited to writing, providing inspiration during a long walk on the beach. Watching the waves and listening to the ocean can be very relaxing, allowing an author to delve deep into their mind and work out plot devices or dialogue. No one would have questioned Ms. Mehran's decision.
Some time in April, Ms. Mehran texted the agent with what sounded like a serious medical emergency. The author was vomiting blood, and reached out to the only person she knew in the small town, but she did not ask for directions or even a lift to the nearest hospital. She did not ask about nearby doctors or clinics.
When the estate agent tried to contact Ms. Mehran, she was ignored. There was no response, despite repeated attempts. When someone tells you they are vomiting blood, you'll make some effort to contact them, which led the estate agent to enter the house after Ms. Mehran failed to answer the door.
The writer had been dead for approximately six days at that point. Her body was found in what was described as a messy place. More disturbing, there were pans of urine around the place. Even if you throw yourself into your writing, you'll make the effort to use the toilet.
No cause of death has been found, according to the coroner. There was no foul play. She may have died as a result of inflammatory bowel disease which can lead to eloctrolyte imbalance. If she had gone to a hospital, they would have been able to detect such an imbalance and then work to correct it.
But instead, Ms. Mehran wrote as if there was nothing else in the world but the words in her head.
That is the world where genius has crossed over the fine line.