Part of the Mental Furniture


One of the short stories I’m working on right now involves a supercomputer. When some of my writing friends workshopped a draft of the piece, the issue of technology came up: will the extensive references to various forms of technology tie the story to the current time period too strongly and prevent it from being accessible to future generations (you know, should any of us be lucky enough to be read by future generations)?

The same thing applies to pop culture references and I started thinking about the use of both topics in fiction when I stumbled upon the following David Foster Wallace quote in Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself:

“[…] the professors’d say, Don’t use pop references (a) because they’re banal and stupid, and (b) because they date your piece. And it’s just sort of like, I mean I think, I don’t know about you, what kind of stuff you do. Me and a lot of the other young writers I know, we use these references sort of the way the romantic poets use lakes and trees. I mean, they’re just part of the mental furniture. That you carry around.” (75) (more…)