COLUMBUS — The second volume of poetry from Columbus-based bestselling author Astone Jackson debuted at No. 1 for new releases in Amazon LGBTQ+ poetry over Pride Weekend in Columbus.

“This book really continues my journey, exploring love, heartbreak, and everything in between,” said Jackson. “It explores what’s happened in my life regarding my relationships and sexuality, so it was important to me to release it on Pride Weekend, and the response has just been amazing.”

Jackson’s second effort, “Hoping For The Best, Just Hoping Nothing Happens,” was released June 14 and is a follow-up to his first collection of poetry, “The Secrets We Keep That Keep Us From Sleeping,” also an Amazon bestseller, published in 2017. The book is available on Amazon as well as local bookstores such as The Book Loft in the German Village neighborhood of Columbus.

In his second book, Jackson, who identifies as bisexual, opens up about his sexuality, writing about same-sex as well as opposite-sex relationships. In this way, Jackson is “coming out” to readers and some people in his life with this volume.

“The process of coming out never really ends, as you meet new people and they learn about you. But my first book was about a lot of the opposite-sex relationships I’ve had, while this one includes both. That might surprise some people,” he said with a laugh. “But it’s important, especially during Pride Month, to stand up and say, ‘This is who I am, and I’m proud of it.’ Maybe it will help give confidence and inspiration to somebody else to do the same.”

Poetry is all about honesty and human connection, Jackson said, and in his writing he never pulls a punch.

Jackson, 28, is originally from Findlay, Ohio, and lived in West Chester before moving to the Columbus area in 2018. He explained how his passion for writing developed as he coped with the fallout from past relationships and explored new ones.

“The thing is, you’ll never be able to find yourself if you’re lost in someone else. So just speak your truth, even if it scares you — every part of who you are, not just part of you,” he said.

Jackson said he remembers being 16 years old, with all these plans of what he wanted to be.

“You’re young and hopeful, and then you grow up and everything crashes around you. Writing is an amazing outlet to be able to express yourself and learn that you’re not alone, other people are going through the same things, and maybe sometimes you can help them,” Jackson said. “You can help make it easier. You can help others see that they’re not alone.”

Jackson practices descriptive poetry, which, unlike narrative poetry, is not necessarily used to tell a story but to capture deeper thoughts and emotions.

“You find yourself in bed late at night, looking at the ceiling and thinking about someone, and instead of reaching for the phone at 2 a.m., you start writing. And maybe someone will read it and will understand,” he said. “So these are the memories and tales of the people who came into and left my life, as well as others who decided to stay.”

Jackson’s second book is available on Amazon in paperback and for Kindle. His first book is as well. Jackson can be found on Twitter at @AstoneJackson and Instagram at AstoneJJackson.

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