Algy had decided that it would be best to leave the final stage of production work on his book to his assistants. He reckoned that he had played his part, and now he deserved a rest 🙂 So he perched on a rock by the water, and made plans for a wee spring adventure. He wanted to see the woodlands and flowers, the hills and the lochs, and all the colours of spring.

As he sat there gazing at the clear water, he thought about the extraordinary process of writing books, and remembered a poem, which he dedicates to all his friends who have ever engaged in the strange business of writing:

Cervantes was asleep when he wrote Don Quixote.
Joyce slept during the Wandering Rocks section of Ulysses.
Homer nodded and occasionally slept during the greater part of the Iliad; he was awake however when he wrote the Odyssey.
Proust snored his way through The Captive, as have legions of his readers after him.
Melville was asleep at the wheel for much of Moby-Dick.
Fitzgerald slept through Tender Is the Night, which is perhaps not so surprising,
but the fact that Mann slumbered on the very slopes of The Magic Mountain is quite extraordinary—that he wrote it, even more so.  
Kafka, of course, never slept, even while not writing or on bank holidays.
No one knows too much about George Eliot’s writing habits—my guess is she would sleep a few minutes, wake up and write something, then pop back to sleep again.
Lew Wallace’s forty winks came, incredibly, during the chariot race in Ben-Hur.
Emily Dickinson slept on her cold, narrow bed in Amherst.
When she awoke there would be a new poem inscribed by Jack Frost on the windowpane; outside, glass foliage chimed.
Good old Walt snored as he wrote and, like so many of us, insisted he didn’t.
Maugham snored on the Riviera.
Agatha Christie slept daintily, as a woman sleeps, which is why her novels are like tea sandwiches—artistic, for the most part.
I sleep when I cannot avoid it; my writing and sleeping are constantly improving.

I have other things to say, but shall not detain you much.
Never go out in a boat with an author—they cannot tell when they are over water.
Birds make poor role models.
A philosopher should be shown the door, but don’t, under any circumstances, try it.
Slaves make good servants.
Brushing the teeth may not always improve the appearance.
Store clean rags in old pillow cases.
Feed a dog only when he barks.
Flush tea leaves down the toilet, coffee grounds down the sink.
Beware of anonymous letters—you may have written them, in a wordless implosion of sleep.

Algy was particularly tickled by the line “Birds make poor role models.” 🙂

[Algy is quoting the poem Sleepers Awake by the contemporary American poet John Ashbery.]


Algy discovered that today is International Literacy Day. As most of his Tumblr friends know, Algy is very fond of books, so to celebrate this special day he settled down in the Marram grass for a happy hour or two of quiet reading – that is, after he had composed a quick ditty in honour of the day:

If you are left alone at times
When no-one wants to play,
A book is perfect company
To while the hours away.

So when everything is boring
And you yearn for something new,
Just find yourself a story book
With tales of derring-do.

If you are seeking knowledge
But don’t know where to turn,
Then look inside a weighty tome
And you will quickly learn.

So if life is simply baffling
And all is mystery,
Search through a venerable book
And you may find the key.

If stress is wearing down your mind
Or work is all frustration,
Pick up a soothing book of verse
For rest and relaxation.

And on days when you feel sad and blue
Or worries grow and niggle,
Just open up a funny book
And you will start to giggle.

Inside the pages of each book
A world of wonder lies,
And every time you take a look
You’ll find a new surprise.

To be sure of entertainment
And the knowledge that they need,
Every little girl and boy
Should surely learn to read 🙂

Algy says: Enjoy your reading, everybody!

[ © MacAvon Media 2014. This ditty is original copyright material, but you are welcome to share it on Tumblr providing you credit the original and link back to Algy’s Adventures.]