Jaylin Leslie Is All About Connecting

Poet, painter, and performance artist Jaylin Leslie explores her personal journey in a new book, “Seasons.”

Illustration by Zachary Ghaderi

Jaylin Leslie uses her creative talents—from painting and fashion to podcasting, writing, and spoken-word performance—to connect with people on an intimate level. The Cincinnati native published her first collection of narrative, free verse, and imagery writing, Seasons, in April 2020 to explore her personal journey of healing, which she also shares on a blog and podcast.

When did you become interested in making art?

Writing was an outlet for me when I was younger because my mom would always buy me journals, since she loves to read. My family history is full of creatives. My grandfather is a wood carver, and my dad paints and also designs clothing. I guess if I had to choose one art form, though, it would be speaking and writing. I just think words are a great way to connect with people. I really feel as though I’ve been given the gift of communication.

What was the inspiration behind Seasons?

This is about the seasons of my life from hardship to growth, and those growing pains. Initially, I was on a journey of healing and self discovery. I got deep into meditation two years ago, and I was telling that story on my blog [earthensden.com], so I wanted to create a book that could inspire other people.

What are some of its major themes?

The book has three chapters, with the first one called “Bloom,” which is one of the stages of winter. So that’s more of the hard and heavy stuff. The second chapter is “Flower,” which is in the springtime. So I’ve survived this very dark night of the soul, and I’m growing. Then “Garden” is the season of abundance, where I realize I should just be whole and accepting of myself. It’s the season of forgiveness and peace with my past.

What do you hope aspiring creatives take away from Seasons?

I think poetry and reading and all of those things sometimes can be a very analytical arena, but I just wanted to create something that people would connect to emotionally. I hope people learn to be honest in their work. When you’re creating something, don’t do it with the intention of sales or anything like that. Do it because it means something to you and has a deeper value inside you.

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