Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The other Jonny Diaz


"I wish I could read all night - seriously one of the best books ever!!" Tweeted one young girl.

"Great show tonight!'' wrote another fan on Facebook.

I wish I could take credit for the compliments but it's not me they're talking about. It's the other Jonny Diaz. Over the years as his star has risen (and mine maybe just a little itty bit), people have confused us.

One commenter on Youtube for one of my readings wrote, "Is this jonny diaz the christian singer? Did he write a gay book? Is he gay?"  

I laughed when I saw that because the mix-ups keep happening. Jonny is my digital doppelganger. So much so that Wikipedia emphasizes that he's the American singer and I'm the American writer.  I remember one time while leaving the airport in Atlanta after a book reading, the security guy looked at my license, then looked at me and said "You're Jonny Diaz! My girlfriend loves your music." I grinned and responded, "Um, thanks but..."

Yet despite our differences (Jonny is a Christian country music singer who is married and I'm none of those things. He plays the guitar and I play with my curly hair), we do have some similarities if you take a closer look.

We're both from Florida. He of Lakeland. Me of Miami.

We went to college in the Sunshine State. Him, Florida State University. Me, Florida International University.

We both share a love of writing (him music, me gay romance novels and news feature stories.)

Most of all, we both enjoy connecting with others. We use our words to uplift people and to get closer to a universal truth.

Jonny broke out with an inspirational song called More Beautiful You which urges people, particularly young girls, that God made us beautiful just as we are and not to give into societal pressures. He also co-wrote a book based on that song.

I broke out with the song More Bootyful You. (Just kidding but that would make a good name for a song). Actually, I came out in the literary world with my debut novel Boston Boys Club, a fun, light-hearted book about three guys looking for love as newcomers to Boston. And I've since written four more books that focus on the power of friendship and love among 20, and 30something guys in Boston, Miami and Providence as they navigate their everyday lives.

Whenever someone has confused me for Jonny, I've smiled and responded to them, "Thank you for reaching out but you might be looking for Jonny Diaz. I'm a writer."   I'd like to think that Jonny has done the same for me over the years. Jonny, if you come across this post, I'd love to send you one of my books, maybe Looking for Providence. (The title alone is spiritual beyond the city.) And much continued success with your music!

By the way, heeere's Jonny in his own words!