Balancing Act is a newly published work of fiction by architect and author Meera Godbole Krishnamurthy that demonstrates the challenge many stay-at-home-mothers – particularly ones with feminist sensibilities – face when reconciling their identities with the conflicting demands and desires of motherhood and working outside of the home. Although the topic being explored is not a new one, Meera uses her professional training to craft a work that offers a distinct vantage point through which to view this particular struggle. Building the self isn't so different than building a literal, physical structure, and everything constructed needs a solid foundation from which to grow.
You know: a lot of people have problems with Madonna. In fact, pretty much the entire history of Madonna has been the history of people having various problems with her! I first learned of her existence when a news channel reported on one of her concerts. I was maybe five or six. It was her "crucifix as fashion accessory" phase; possibly, also, her "pretending to masturbate on stage" phase. And my mother turned to me and said, "you know, it's important to realize that not everyone likes her.
It's hard to be a consumer of media these days and not encounter the work of author and multi-media journalist Farai Chideya. She founded the online journal Pop + Politics in 1995 (practically a lifetime ago in online years); authored three nonfiction books that chronicle some of the most pressing social justice issues of our time; appeared as a political analyst on CNN and other media outlets; and hosted NPR's "News and Notes," a daily program about African-American issues that ended too soon in a rash of budget cuts by the organization.
Now Chideya has published her first novel, Kiss the Sky, which is the story of Sophie Maria Clara Lee, a "book-smart black girl from blue-collar Baltimore" who graduates Harvard, achieves rock stardom, and then struggles with love, the music business, family, alcohol, and her own stubborn melancholy.
Page Turner talked with Chideya about her journey to publishing a novel, the autobiographical connections between herself and Sophie, feminism and personal accountability, her decision to talk more openly about her depression, and a crucial question for the next generation of feminists.