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My Almost Certainly Real Imaginary Jesus
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My Almost Certainly Real > Online Chat with Kelly Barth

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message 1: by Monica (new)

Monica Carter (goodreadscomsalonicaworldlit) | 127 comments Mod
Online chat today with Kelly Barth, 10:00 am PST!


message 2: by Monica (new)

Monica Carter (goodreadscomsalonicaworldlit) | 127 comments Mod
Hi Kelly! Merry Christmas and thanks for joining us.


message 3: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Barth | 18 comments Hi Monica! Merry Christmas to you, too!


message 4: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Barth | 18 comments Thanks for inviting me.


message 5: by Monica (new)

Monica Carter (goodreadscomsalonicaworldlit) | 127 comments Mod
Again, thanks for joining us! I loved your memoir and the first question is about the title. How did you know that was the title?


message 6: by Monica (new)

Monica Carter (goodreadscomsalonicaworldlit) | 127 comments Mod
Hello all peeps joining in the discussion! Feel free to ask Kelly a question:)


message 7: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Barth | 18 comments Monica wrote: "Online chat today with Kelly Barth, 10:00 am PST!"Hi Monica. Merry Christmas to you, too! Thanks for inviting me.


message 8: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Barth | 18 comments I'm not a technological wizard, but are you there Monica? :)


message 9: by Monica (new)

Monica Carter (goodreadscomsalonicaworldlit) | 127 comments Mod
Yes. I asked, "How did you know that was the title?"


message 10: by Monica (new)

Monica Carter (goodreadscomsalonicaworldlit) | 127 comments Mod
Refresh your page:)


message 11: by Monica (new)

Monica Carter (goodreadscomsalonicaworldlit) | 127 comments Mod
You can type in the comment box and post.


message 12: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Barth | 18 comments OK. Are you hearing me now?


message 13: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Barth | 18 comments Did you mean how did I know My Almost Certainly Real Imaginary Jesus was the title?


message 14: by Monica (new)

Monica Carter (goodreadscomsalonicaworldlit) | 127 comments Mod
Yes.


message 15: by Monica (new)

Monica Carter (goodreadscomsalonicaworldlit) | 127 comments Mod
Yes:)


message 16: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Barth | 18 comments Well, Eloise Klein-Healy, my publisher at Arktoi and I had lots of discussions early on about the title. Nothing was coming to me really. We worried that if you put Jesus in the title of any book, it would make people break out in a rash. :). We knew we had to make it long and funny. The title is actually Eloise's.


message 17: by Monica (new)

Monica Carter (goodreadscomsalonicaworldlit) | 127 comments Mod
Ah. That's wonderful. You describe yourself as 'clinically shy.' Did that make it easier or more difficult to write this memoir?


message 18: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Barth | 18 comments I originally called it Imaginary Jesus, but another book by a person who has a much different, more literal, evangelical take on who Jesus is/was had already chosen the title, and we needed to distinguish my book from his.


message 19: by Monica (new)

Monica Carter (goodreadscomsalonicaworldlit) | 127 comments Mod
Clever.


message 20: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Barth | 18 comments When I was a little girl, Jesus was my imaginary friend. I was one of those "creative" children who have imaginary friends.


message 21: by Monica (new)

Monica Carter (goodreadscomsalonicaworldlit) | 127 comments Mod
You describe yourself as 'clinically shy.' Did that make it easier or more difficult to write this memoir?


message 22: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Barth | 18 comments I was "clinically shy" as a child and young adult because on some level I couldn't truly be myself. Once I embraced my sexuality, shyness dropped away. I'm still an introvert, but no longer what I would call shy.


message 23: by Monica (new)

Monica Carter (goodreadscomsalonicaworldlit) | 127 comments Mod
As a teenager, being ensconced in a religious environment, did you feel isolated or comforted by your religion?


message 24: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Barth | 18 comments Before I became a fundamentalist, my teenage years at church were a bit cold, a bit intellectual and confusing, since Presbyterians--my home faith--can be a bit detached. I loved youth group at my home church though. That was a saving grace for me. Popular kids from my church liked me because they didn't perceive me as a dork, as people did at school. They just saw me as another kid in the youth group. I'm a testimony to the importance of the kind of enforced acceptance and kindness youth groups provide.


message 25: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Barth | 18 comments I should say becoming a fundamentalist later as a teenager made things even worse. I belonged to a school group called Youth For Christ, which automatically made me a terminal dork. Not only were our beliefs rigid, but most of us had few social skills.


message 26: by Monica (new)

Monica Carter (goodreadscomsalonicaworldlit) | 127 comments Mod
That's such a great outlook about finding people and/or groups who accept you as opposed to being dependent upon the acceptance of one group.

Your memoir is so funny. Has that always been a part of who you are?


message 27: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Barth | 18 comments I would say yes. Had I not been funny even as a young child, I imagine my parents would have wanted to take me back for a refund. I had insomnia and hated vacations at amusement parks, which is what my parents preferred. I kept them laughing, and they kept feeding me. :)


message 28: by Monica (new)

Monica Carter (goodreadscomsalonicaworldlit) | 127 comments Mod
Haha! Sounds like you found a way to survive being "different" from your parents. When you were a teenager, did you feel a void that wasn't being filled by your religion? Did you have a sense it had to do with your sexualilty?


message 29: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Barth | 18 comments In a way yes, I think the void came from wanting to be truly accepted for who I was. Truly loved. As I saw it, God was the only one who could do that because I was afraid to be honest with anyone else about my sexuality, and because--being omniscient--God already knew, so I had to make sure God and Jesus liked me.


message 30: by Monica (new)

Monica Carter (goodreadscomsalonicaworldlit) | 127 comments Mod
Were there moments of despair? What or who pulled you through?


message 31: by Kelly (last edited Dec 27, 2012 10:44AM) (new)

Kelly Barth | 18 comments I wouldn't say I experienced despair as a fundamentalist Christian. I didn't experience despair until I became involved with a reparative therapy/ex-gay group who told me who I truly was was wrong/broken/defective. The thing that got me through was therapy and a low dose of an anti-anxiety medication. The online support of people who had experienced what I had helped immensely as well. Also, powerful books written by church leaders like John Shelby Spong and Peter Gomes who called out the ex-gay ministries for what they were--misguided, homophobic, bigots, and their teachings for what they were--extra-biblical prejudice.


message 32: by Monica (new)

Monica Carter (goodreadscomsalonicaworldlit) | 127 comments Mod
Again, the power of peers and acceptance. Okay, last question: why did you decide to write a memoir?


message 33: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Barth | 18 comments During writing school at the University of Montana, I started to write this as fiction. It worked; people liked it. However, the further I got into it, the more I realized the genre of fiction was getting in the way of telling my story. I had to just screw up my courage and tell it. As an old pastor of mine said, "Tell your own story, or someone else will."


message 34: by Monica (new)

Monica Carter (goodreadscomsalonicaworldlit) | 127 comments Mod
That's great! Any words of wisdom for people who may be struggling with the same dichotomy of religion and sexuality?


message 35: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Barth | 18 comments Yes. Go to church if you want; don't, if you don't want. Your faith has to be your own. I'm no longer traditionally Christian. My spirituality is much broader now, but I know many people who find great support and comfort in church. Be careful when church shopping though. Don't let anyone tell you you're anything less than exactly who you should be, just the same as everyone else. Life is too short to be with people who won't evolve.


message 36: by Monica (new)

Monica Carter (goodreadscomsalonicaworldlit) | 127 comments Mod
Words to live by, to be sure. Thank you so much, Kelly!


message 37: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Barth | 18 comments Thank you Monica! It's been a pleasure talking to you. And thanks for all your hard work at Goodreads and MyStory. This is an invaluable resource that I wish I'd had in the past. Kudos!


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