Getting Things in Order

Writing, we all know, is not just about end result, the final output; it is also about the process that leads to the result. All attempts at getting the words in their right, their inevitable-feeling order must likewise count as writing. In this regard, I often think of Frank Budgen's account of meeting James Joyce on the streets of Zurich and finding the Master quite pleased with himself. Budgen asked him if the work were going well, and Joyce answered that it was indeed: he had given the day to getting the words he had chosen for a particular sentence into the right sequence. He thought he had finally found it

—Sven Birkerts, "And What Is Writing" (AGNI 70)