When I finish reading frum books (which is not often), I sigh and wonder why they never live measure up to the quality I'm used to. Then I think about the wide eyed children who only know of the libraries in basements of various shuls, children who only see a small sliver of reality. Books are supposed to be rich and vibrant, to transport you to another time and place, to offer a different perspective. Frankly, I can't think of a single frum novel that is up to par. And that's pathetic.
Look it's not my problem if people are ignorant enough to subject their youngsters to mental starvation. They're just perpetuating what they know. However, it amazes me that frum publishing companies turn out material that is so mediocre. The average gentile thinks of doctors and lawyers when he thinks of Jews. However much he may hate us, he reveres us. We're not a stupid people.
It's Targum Press, Feldheim and the rest of them that are the problem. They take for granted that they are the gateway to the frum population. After all, no one will read anything from the 'outside world' - and conveniently that qualifies as anything not published by them. Maveriks like Naomi Ragen are banned so that the audience would benifit most from her work doesn't even know her name.
That's where the internet comes in. Most people think that the rabbanim banned the internet because of porn, but I believe that's just a smoke screen. They fear freedom of knowledge and information much more. Pandora's box has been opened and there's no way to shut it. I'm sick of frum novels that sugar-coat reality. There are authors that slave away on beautiful novels, only to realize that they have to allow Feldheim to suck the life out of their works in order to get them published under a good name. It's sad, but what's worse is that it doesn't have to be.
Allow me to explain: Money and writing never have and never will go hand in hand in my world. For me writing is like breathing - it's just what I do. Getting paid for that makes no sense. Yeah, I could write and get my stuff published independantly, but that would defeat the purpose - to speak to those who need to hear what I've got to say. There are lots of people who's most important window is their computer screen. It's their little portal from which they curiously peak out into the universe. You know who you are.
I intend to take advantage of that and write my own novel, but in the form of a blog. I'm going to make a new one just for this. Each post will be approximately 1/3 of a chapter, and I'll turn them out as often as I can throughout the summer. Actually, I'll probably start as soon as I'm done with these darn finals. Anyway, I plan on having a lot of fun with it. It isn't going to - or even meant to be - the most profound thing in the world, but you're welcome to come along for the ride.