An Even Shorter History of a Prince

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I realized I could live a moral life, that I should, as an adult, live a life dictated by duty. If I chose I could find beauty by living in the real world; I could probably find beauty by working day after day at meaningful drudge. I often had that anxious, desolate feeling that I was wasting my time, that I was wasting an afternoon, a weekend, a whole life, by not choosing to do the right thing – the work that would simultaneously wear me out and sustain me. I was striving for the, ah, mature life. Here, I said to myself, I’ve been waylaid by the most sinful temptations, and if I don’t change now I might wander around forever wadded up with stupidity of my own making. I’d gotten distracted by laziness, by narcissism, and I’d also become clever in a despicable way, clever like a mild version of Milton’s Satan, Satan-lite, if you will. I could think rationally, but without any sort of spirituality. I was disconnected from anything moral, or from a sense of awe.

~ Jane Hamilton, The Short History of a Prince
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