April Foolishness: Claire Hennessy

British-born Claire Hennessy is a founding member and website editor of the Write On Mamas, a Bay area writing group of over 40 members. She is writing a humorous memoir about reuniting with her childhood sweetheart after a thirty-year-separation.  

You can find her work in two upcoming anthologies – Write On Mamas’ Mamas Write and ABOW’s (A Band of Women) Nothing But The Truth So Help Me God – Transitions. She finds time to write complete nonsense on her personal blog, Crazy California Claire.

I am delighted to be asked to participate in "April Foolishness."  I have not one, not two, but THREE essays coming out in May, in not one, but TWO anthologies. Great, I thought to myself, I can unabashedly promote myself. But then I thought … wait … she said “Foolishness.” 

Hmm, would that constitute “foolishness” and I thought “Maybe not”.

So, instead of rushing forth in a mouth-frothing frenzy of excitement about my achievements, instead of jumping up and down with enthusiasm over my upcoming authorly status (which is not advisable after you have ejected two children by natural childbirth, any more than coughing violently or sneezing unexpectedly, without taking prior precautionary measures), instead of waving the front covers of my new books in your virtual faces like an over-enthusiastic puppy shoving his wet snout in your groin area,  I would try and be restrained and just, well, foolish.

I thought I would tell some quick stories of silly jokes I have played on people over the years. 

When I worked in advertising, I used to drive the my co-workers crazy by hiding singing button badges in the ceiling and setting them to go off at random intervals. They would look at the ceiling trying to work out where the noise was coming from, a la Miss Piggy on the Muppet Show.

For some very good reason, lost to me now in my woman-of-a-certain-age-memory status, I put a slice of quiche in a plastic bag and strapped it underneath various desks to rot. You knew you were the next victim of the disgusting, fermenting mess only when you sniffed it down to the underside of your chair like a beagle sniffing drugs at airports which, by the way, happened to me crossing the border into Mexico just last year. I was terrified, thinking I was going to end up in some God-awful Mexican jail in the back of beyond being assaulted by a pot-bellied, brown-teethed, tobacco-spitting, smelly-arm-pitted drug dealer, when luckily all they found was a half-eaten sandwich.

Many moons ago, when dinosaurs first roamed the earth, back when I was in boarding school, we made ‘apple-pie beds’ for unsuspecting victims friends (if you don’t know what these are you will have to buy my memoir – hopefully coming soon – damn, there I go with more shameless self-promotion – must stop that). It got so bad that our parents had to pay for ripped sheets. We also set off fire alarms at midnight, crept up on people and burst paper bags, scaring the living daylights of them (can’t do that now as when you get to a certain age, friends would either have a heart attack or wet themselves), and dared each other to run naked along spooky corridors. On one memorable occasion when I was about 12 years old and sleeping in a dormitory of 7 other girls, I was the victim of a joke buzzing ring (you know the kind, it looked like a ring on the outside, but if you shook someone’s hand it vibrated unpleasantly on their palm) and apple-pie bed combo, with two matrons waiting impatiently for me to get into bed. One of my friends hid the ring under my pillow and the muffled buzzing sounded like the most enormous, longest-lasting fart ever blown out of a backside and I was severely punished for laughing hysterically at such an unladylike explosion.
Recently, at work, we have taken to messing with each other’s desks, moving files around, hiding mugs and pens, removing keyboards and putting laptops on top of filing cabinets. Makes for an interesting start to the day, even if no actual work gets done while we hunt down vital components.

I will leave you with an audacious publicity link to the anthology, published by my fantastic writing group, the Write On Mamas, in which I am featured not once, but TWICE, plus a quick joke or two:

A writer died and was given the option of going to heaven or hell.
She decided to check out each place first. As the writer descended into the fiery pits, she saw row upon row of writers chained to their desks in a steaming sweatshop. As they worked, they were repeatedly whipped with thorny lashes.
"Oh my," said the writer. "Let me see heaven now."
A few moments later, as she ascended into heaven, she saw rows of writers, chained to their desks in a steaming sweatshop. As they worked, they, too, were whipped with thorny lashes.
"Wait a minute," said the writer. "This is just as bad as hell!"
"Oh no, it's not," replied an unseen voice. "Here, your work gets published."

How to Write Good
1.     -- - Avoid alliteration. Always.
--Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do.
--Don't be redundant; don't use more words than necessary; it's highly superfluous.
--Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
--A writer must not shift your point of view.

Find Claire here:
Crazy California Claire - http://clairehennessy.blogspot.com/
Write On Mamas – www.writeonmamas.com

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