by Michelle Dooley Mahon

 

BIO of a Scourge.

 

On her 49th Birthday Michelle Dooley Mahon lay alone on a couch wrapped in cardigans, stroking 3 chins and a neck beard, crying.

On her 50th she sold out her own headline show “The Eff Word” at The Spiegeltent on the opening night of the Wexford Opera Festival, standing in a red velvet dress in a red velvet tent, obese and exhausted, but moving the audience to shouts of laughter, gasps of shock and tears at the finale –

Stories that began with “Why is there always a shitty underpants at a lake?” segued into observations of the human condition, mental health, illness, awareness and the temporal nature of all life, into yarns about a cake stolen from a 21st party  - the culprit finally apprehended 19 years later at her 40th where he yet again appeared, uninvited. Stories about pitbull pups with sticky eyes, mute Dutchmen and a man with TeddyBear Eyes who tried to top himself in a hostel kitchen morphed into a monologue  to the hushed audience about her beloved Mother, Siobhán – a woman whose decade long battle with Alzheimers had wreaked havoc on a family as they witnessed her crucifixion from  this bastard of an illness, a death by a thousand cuts, the closing lines of the show being “Stop it!” she said, so I will” moved the audience into a spontaneous sustained standing ovation.

Siobhán died 12 weeks later.

On her 51st birthday Michelle stood beside her 87 year old Father launching the Memoir “Scourged” about Siobhán, -  the woman who was tagged in Brigids Ward for 7 months, the woman who lay bolstered under a Brigids Cross on a Nursing Home airbed for 7 years, a book she wrote, edited, proofed, designed, funded, and wheeled into the book shop on a handcart 9 months after her Mother’s - “battered body was blown out of the world in a hurricane and carried home on a breeze

On Jan 31st  – Brigids Day

The book received critical acclaim.

Being described as “groundbreaking and remarkable, as intimate as a diary, a gourmet soup of passionate prose, beautiful, shocking, hilarious, a triumph” “Scourged” has achieved cult status and word of mouth publicity with people tagging themselves on social media with the book all over the world.

Eoin Colfer described her as a “cross between Joan Didion and David Sedaris, delving deep into the seam of the everyday, mining the ores of tragedy and comedy, shining a single headlamp as she digs,  until the unsuspecting reader, laughed out and cried out, is forced to go for a lie down

She has also been described as  a “female Flann O Brien” – Robert McKenzie – Broadcaster.

And a “philosophical wordsmith”  Ben Moore – Blogger

Having used the analogy of the illness being cuts, it is perhaps fitting that MDM’s writing has been described as  - “using words like sugar dipped razor blades” – John Holden – Photographer

And as “not a smooth pane but rather shards of glass coming at one from all angles” – Ben Barnes – Theatre Director

 

It is no surprise that the Director of  Wexford Art Centre -  Elizabeth Whyte who witnessed her first performance of “The Haemorraging Humourist”  - ( about a 6ft3” clown who bled to death in her arms on a cross channel ferry)  saw fit to commission her to adapt her memoir into a stage play called “The Scourge” under the mentoring of Ben Barnes.  She is working on the second draft at present.

And will play all the roles in the 90 minute show herself.

On her 52nd birthday she drank a bottle of Prosecco in her kitchen with a Narcissistic Ex.

 

MDM is a well known advocate for Alzheimers  issues, recording radio interviews, pod casts, filmed interviews and short movies as well as being “The Voice of Carers” but also outed herself on a public forum as having struggled with her own mental health for years, being diagnosed as Manic and sedated on Lithium then becoming morbidly obese, and Diabetic. Her blog “Dr Shellshock” describing her condition, her addiction to sleeping tablets and her coping mechanisms of meditation and visualisation at www.shellakeypookey.blogspot.com had 20,000 views in 24 hours.

Being a contrarian and as stubborn as a mule she listened to the Diabetic Nurse talking about blindness and amputations and then  took to the roads in lycra leggings , cut out the chocolate and ice cream she had subsisted on for 20 years, and walked off 4 stone in 6 months.

She has now lost 5stone and is trying to remove the bingo wings and roll of flab by dancing around the kitchen at night to loud music wielding a sweeping brush.

She calls this “rehearsing

Inundated with emails, texts, and private messages about how she actually does all the stuff she actually does, she decided to run a course in her alternative lifestyle by booking a room in a convent, (from the Nuns who taught her as a 4 year old Scourge) to run  a series of classes over 8 weeks  called “MINDLESS” where she gets to tell a room full of people all at the same time, instead of one by one that everything you say after I am becomes true, and that if you can see it you can be it.

Her poster says “How to join a Cult, by accident!” and her phone number.

She has also dyed her hair, blonde, again.

She has no idea how she will spend her 53rd birthday, but she is expecting a miracle, as per. 

MDM July 2017. 

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Alzheimer Society

alzheimers

Michelle is an avid supporter of the Alzheimer Society of Ireland.

Her debut novel Scourged is based entirely on Michelle's own experience of caring for a Mother with Alzheimer's. 

The Alzheimer Society endorsed her book on their Facebook page and to Twitter followers mentioning that it had received international attention since its launch and quoting from it.

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""to Vincent, a lifetime of shared history and nostalgia " she wrote inside it, and it is. There's the Da whitewashing the wall and the blind man singing 'joy to the world' is my cousin Tommy, and ...

Vincent Byrne

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