EM Forster“My regret is that I haven’t written a bit more.”

E.M. Forster

I was surprised to read E.M. Forster’s regret – if anything, it proves that harboring regrets makes no sense.

It’s true that the British writer Forster (1879-1970) only wrote six novels (one published posthumously) over his long lifetime – in addition to his short stories, essays, plays, travel writing, and book reviews – but those he left  us are impressive.

A Room with A View, Howard’s End, and A Passage to India are all masterpieces of English literature (and if you haven’t seen the movie versions of all three, rush out and do so now!). Forster’s first novel, Where Angels Fear to Tread, isn’t perfect, but it still has so many brilliant lines and perfect scenes that are clear in my mind even years after having read it.

There are plenty of authors who have been far more productive, but haven’t ever produced anything at this level. I feel the same about the author Jane Austen. While it’s a shame we only have seven of Austen’s novels to enjoy, what an amazing seven they are.

So here’s to celebrating quality over quantity. Clearly, Forster never had any real cause for regret …