only one person who needs a glass of water oftener

Hannah Hoch - Der Kleine P (The Little P)
There’s only one person who needs a glass of water oftener than a small child tucked in for the night, and that’s a writer sitting down to write.
—Mignon McLaughlin

what is seemingly destroyed is, in fact, retrievable

Tim Rollins and K.O.S. - from the series called
 The Temptation of Saint Anthony, 1990
In college I had a physics professor who wrote the date and time in red marker on a sheet of white paper and then lit the paper on fire and placed it on a metallic mesh basket on the lab table where it burned to ashes. He asked us whether or not the information on the paper was destroyed and not recoverable, and of course we were wrong, because physics tells us that information is never lost, not even in a black hole, and that what is seemingly destroyed is, in fact, retrievable. In that burning paper the markings of ink on the page are preserved in the way the flame flickers and the smoke curls. Wildly distorted to the point of chaos, the information is nonetheless not dead. Nothing, really, dies. Nothing dies. Nothing dies.
—Nicholas Rombes, The Absolution of Roberto Acestes Laing

a translator is a professional schizophrenic

Source unknown
A translator is a professional schizophrenic, continuously wandering on the edge, risking his sanity in the crashing zone of two languages and two cultures. He is operating in an elevated state of mind, as if in trance––indeed, it is a creative trance, a state of bipolarity, of being at two places simultaneously, moving parallel in two worlds. In this sense, he is an exotic stranger, an itinerant of the ever-growing literary world. Invisibly, condemned to solitude, he enters this atypical state of awareness, becomes a trance-later.

language is a complimentary moist lemon-scented cleansing square

From LIFE magazine, photographer unknown
Language is my whore, my mistress, my wife, my pen-friend, my check-out girl. Language is a complimentary moist lemon-scented cleansing square or handy freshen-up wipette. Language is the breath of God, the dew on a fresh apple, it’s the soft rain of dust that falls into a shaft of morning sun when you pull from an old bookshelf a forgotten volume of erotic diaries; language is the faint scent of urine on a pair of boxer shorts, it’s a half-remembered childhood birthday party, a creak on the stair, a spluttering match held to a frosted pane, the warm wet, trusting touch of a leaking nappy, the hulk of a charred Panzer, the underside of a granite boulder, the first downy growth on the upper lip of a Mediterranean girl, cobwebs long since overrun by an old Wellington boot.
—Stephen Fry

a wise reader

Lucien Freud - The Artist's Mother Reading, 1975
A wise reader reads . . . not with his heart, not so much with his brain, but with his spine.
—Vladimir Nabokov

and what else they are

Eric Rondepierre - Le Voyeur, 1996-98
To show things for what they are and what else they are.
—Minor White

transforming milk into milk

Allen Ginsberg - annotated photograph of the artist Harry Smith "transforming milk into milk," 1985
Overambitious projects may be objectionable in many fields, but not in literature. Literature remains alive only if we set ourselves immeasurable goals, far beyond all hope of achievement. Only if poets and writers set themselves tasks that no one else dares imagine will literature continue to have a function.
—Italo Calvino, from Six Memos for the Next Milennium

all is linked, all is consequence

Still from Jean-Luc Godard's Alphaville
When he grew old, Aristotle, who is not generally considered a tightrope dancer, liked to lose himself in the most labyrinthine and subtle of discourses… ‘The more solitary and isolated I become, the more I come to like stories,’ he said.
—Michel de Certeau, from The Practice of Everyday Life

no greater agony

Dress sculpture by Louise Richardson
There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.
—Maya Angelou

no artist tolerates reality

Photographer unknown
No artist tolerates reality.
—Friedrich Nietzsche

you say my way of thinking cannot be tolerated?

Photograph by Anya Teixeira
- Lindsay Kemp performing in Oscar Wilde’s Salomé
You say that my way of thinking cannot be tolerated? What of it? The man who alters his way of thinking to suit others is a fool. My way of thinking is the result of my reflections. It is part of my inner being, the way I am made. I do not contradict them, and would not even if I wished to. For my system, which you disapprove of, is also my greatest comfort in life, the source of all my happiness—it means more to me than my life itself.
—Marquis de Sade

to gain your own voice

Friederike Pezold - Mundwerk, 1974-1975
To gain your own voice, you have to forget about having it heard.
—Allen Ginsberg

they don't desire light

Christo and Jeanne Claude - Package, 1958
Photo by Eava Inkeri
My contemporaries like small objects, dried starfish that have forgotten the sea, melancholy stopped clocks, postcards sent from vanished cities, and blackened with illegible script, in which they discern words like “yearning,” “illness,” or “the end.” They marvel at dormant volcanoes. They don’t desire light.
—Adam Zagajewski, from Small Objects

perception of an object

Jakob Mohr - Beweisse (Proofs), ca 1910
from "Traces upon the Wonderblock,"
a collection of drawings and books made by
psychiatric patients btw 1890 and 1920
More information here
Perception of an object costs
Precise the Object’s loss—
—Emily Dickinson

what is a poet?

Nil Yalter - The Headless Woman or the Belly Dancer, 1974
What is a poet? An unhappy man who hides deep anguish in his heart, but whose lips are so formed that when the sigh and cry pass through them, it sounds like lovely music. And people flock around the poet and say: ‘Sing again soon’ - that is, ‘May new sufferings torment your soul but your lips be fashioned as before, for the cry would only frighten us, but the music, that is blissful.
—Søren Kierkegaard