A clever girl, but lazy

From Diana Athill’s memoir Instead of a Letter (1962):

p. 40
[T]hey considered a house without books in it uncivilized.

p. 71
Lessons I saw as necessary, often interesting, and sometimes enjoyable. I made friends whose companionship I appreciated. It was the absence of things which had to be endured: the absence of freedom, the absence of home, the absence of privacy, the absence of pleasures.

p. 72
It was at school that my secret sin was first brought into the open: laziness. I was considered a clever girl, but lazy. It has been with me ever since, and the guilt I feel about it assures me that it is a sin, not an inability. It takes the form of an immense weight of inertia at the prospect of any activity that does not positively attract me: a weight that can literally paralyze my moral sense. That something must be done I know; that I can do it I know; but the force which prevents my doing it when it comes to the point, or makes me postpone it and postpone it until almost too late, is not conscious defiance of the “must” nor a deliberate denial of the “can.” It is an atrophy of the part of my mind which can perceive the “must” and the “can.” I slide off sideways, almost unconsciously, into doing something else, which I like doing.

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