„I have given my life to writing without regret, except when I consider what in my work I might have done better.“

Address at Bennington College (30 October 1984) as published in "Reflections of a Writer: Long Work, Short Life" in The New York Times (20 March 1988)
Kontext: I have written almost all my life. My writing has drawn, out of a reluctant soul, a measure of astonishment at the nature of life. And the more I wrote well, the better I felt I had to write.
In writing I had to say what had happened to me, yet present it as though it had been magically revealed. I began to write seriously when I had taught myself the discipline necessary to achieve what I wanted. When I touched that time, my words announced themselves to me. I have given my life to writing without regret, except when I consider what in my work I might have done better. I wanted my writing to be as good as it must be, and on the whole I think it is. I would write a book, or a short story, at least three times — once to understand it, the second time to improve the prose, and a third to compel it to say what it still must say.
Somewhere I put it this way: first drafts are for learning what one's fiction wants him to say. Revision works with that knowledge to enlarge and enhance an idea, to re-form it. Revision is one of the exquisite pleasures of writing: The men and things of today are wont to lie fairer and truer in tomorrow's meadow, Henry Thoreau said.
I don't regret the years I put into my work. Perhaps I regret the fact that I was not two men, one who could live a full life apart from writing; and one who lived in art, exploring all he had to experience and know how to make his work right; yet not regretting that he had put his life into the art of perfecting the work.

Übernommen aus Wikiquote. Letzte Aktualisierung 3. Juni 2021. Geschichte
Bernard Malamud Foto
Bernard Malamud
US-amerikanischer Schriftsteller 1914 - 1986

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„If things do go badly, will I wonder for the rest of my life what I might have done to help?“

—  Ben Carson 17th and current United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development; American neurosurgeon 1951

Quelle: Take The Risk (2008), p. 20

John Maynard Keynes Foto

„My only regret is that I have not drunk more champagne in my life.“

—  John Maynard Keynes British economist 1883 - 1946

At a King's College college feast, as quoted in 1949, John Maynard Keynes, 1883-1946, Fellow and Bursar, (A memoir prepared by direction of the Council of King’s College, Cambridge University, England), Cambridge University Press, 1949, page 37. This in turn quoted in Quote Investigator, " My Only Regret Is That I Have Not Drunk More Champagne In My Life https://quoteinvestigator.com/2013/07/11/more-champagne/", 2013-07-11

Nathan Hale Foto

„I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.“

—  Nathan Hale soldier for the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War 1755 - 1776

Last words before being hanged by the British as a spy, (September 22, 1776), according to the account by William Hull based on reports by British Captain John Montresor who was present and who spoke to Hull under a flag of truce the next day:
‘On the morning of his execution,’ continued the officer, ‘my station was near the fatal spot, and I requested the Provost Marshal to permit the prisoner to sit in my marquee, while he was making the necessary preparations. Captain Hale entered: he was calm, and bore himself with gentle dignity, in the consciousness of rectitude and high intentions. He asked for writing materials, which I furnished him: he wrote two letters, one to his mother and one to a brother officer.’ He was shortly after summoned to the gallows. But a few persons were around him, yet his characteristic dying words were remembered. He said, ‘I only regret, that I have but one life to lose for my country.’
Some speculation exists that Hale might have been repeating or paraphrasing lines from Joseph Addison's play Cato, Act IV, Scene IV:
How beautiful is death when earned by virtue.
Who would not be that youth? What pity is it
that we can die but once to serve our country.
See George Dudley Seymour, Captain Nathan Hale, Major John Palsgrave Wyllys, A Digressive History, (1933), p. 39.
Another early variant of his last words exists, as reported in the Independent Chronicle and the Universal Advertiser (17 May 1781):
I am so satisfied with the cause in which I have engaged, that my only regret is, that I have not more lives than one to offer in its service.

„And why should I regret what I have done, when I cannot help doing what I do, which is what I have done?“

—  Antonio Porchia Italian Argentinian poet 1885 - 1968

¿Y para qué debo arrepentirme de lo que he hecho, si no puedo dejar de hacer lo que hago, que es lo que he hecho?
Voces (1943)

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„I have never started a fight in my life but I have finished a few… sometimes I shudder when I think about what I have done.“

—  Tommy Smith (footballer, born 1945) Former English professional association footballer 1945 - 2019

Coping with Cristiano Ronaldo, Phil Gordos, 2008-03-31, 2008-03-31, BBC News http://news2.thdo.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/7315069.stm,

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„I think journalism was the most important thing I could have done with my life. I just can't think of anything I could have done with my life that would have been more meaningful.“

—  John Seigenthaler American journalist, writer, and political figure 1927 - 2014

Reported in his Tennessean's obituary; quoted in "John Seigenthaler dies at 86" http://www.poynter.org/2014/john-seigenthaler-dies-at-86/258597/ by Andrew Beaujon, poynter.org (11 July 2014)

„It's better to regret what you have done than what you haven't.“

—  Paul Arden writer 1940 - 2008

Quelle: Whatever You Think, Think the Opposite

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„I only regret that I have but one shirt to give for my country.“

—  Abbie Hoffman American political and social activist 1936 - 1989

Post-trial statement (modeled after a quote by American revolutionary Nathan Hale), after being declared guilty of flag desecration for wearing a shirt that resembled an American flag (1968), quoted in "The Trial of Abbie Hoffman's Shirt" in The Huffington Post (8 June 2005) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-krassner/the-trial-of-abbie-hoffma_b_2334.html.

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„Undoubtedly I have done harm to the society, but I have done it for defending my life, I would set fire to the whole world for it.“

—  Carmine Crocco Italian revolutionary 1830 - 1905

Senza dubbio, ho fatto del male alla società, ma io facevo per difendere la mia vita; per essa avrei dato fuoco a tutto il mondo.
As quoted in Voci dall'ergastolo

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