TO BE IN THE DOLDRUMS (or not to be, that is the question).

. . . in the doldrums (overseas stocks are in the doldrums): inactive, quiet, slow, slack, sluggish, stagnant.

Is being in the doldrums an act of will, like a temper tantrum gone on too long? Is it an ‘I will not write, you can’t make me’, sort of thing? Or is it something beyond control, like overseas stocks.

I don’t know anything about stocks, overseas or not, I do know that February brings on the doldrums in me. ‘Fantods’ was how David Foster Wallace referred to the feeling, though he usually placed, before fantods, an adjective which escapes me now.

fantod |ˈfanˌtäd|
nounN. Amer. informal
a state or attack of uneasiness or unreasonableness: the mumbo-jumbo gave me the fantods.

Maybe the word was galloping, like in consumption. I know it wasn’t, but it sounds good.

February gives me the galloping fantodish doldrums.

I have ideas for stories the plots of which are not to be found. I have characters for which no story is available. I have plots that have no arc, arcs that sag, lines with no one to speak them, premises with no promise, settings with no descriptors and worst of all , an inclination to recline with a glass of wine and forget that I ever took up the silly business of writing.

If this condition is willful, or even an unwilling one, but one that is only a passing phase , I will be very thankful when it’s over. February’s galloping fantods and doldrums have always passed in the past, I’m sure they will pass now and in the future, but at present they are unreasonable and slow down progress. I want to write the story of a wagon ride to night, the story of how gravity really works, this story and that one, but must wait until March. And that is truly annoying.




About Eleanor Ingbretson

Native New Yorker. Transplanted to New Hampshire years ago, but still considered a flatlander by the neighbors. Writer of fantasy and mystery and whatever else takes my fancy.

Posted on February 13, 2017, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Eleanor Ingbretson

    While out shoveling a foot or more of snow I remembered that his phrase was either ‘howling fantods’ or screaming ones. All good, and steal away old chum, as I will steal from you.
    A change of scenery is coming up, but I think just getting rid of February from the calendar would do me a world of good.


  2. I think you need a change of scenery! Is that what you are referring to when you talk about March? I’m still anxious to read about the wagon ride….


  3. I hope the ‘galloping ‘ part wasn’t what DFW said, because I’d much rather credit you when I steal, as I shall, the phrase ‘galloping fantods.’


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