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By Melissa Walsh

Photos Yanni


ai Thoolen could be described as a fair haired Hagrid, a gentle giant or even ‘Thor’. At the very least the six foot seven (202cm) Rosebud man with the wild flowing beard is a true wordsmith and one of the peninsula’s most prolific poets. “I grew up on the peninsula, and I lived mostly in Rosebud all my life,” said Jai who went to Tootgarook and then Rosebud High School, and was somewhat of a rebel.

“I wake up in the middle of the night with a line or a word and have to write it down and then look at it the next day and work on it from there. I write one a week and sometimes I write ten in an hour,” said Jai, who is quite indignant there is no such thing as writer’s block. “I am so convinced there is no writers block; I wrote a poem called Writers Block,” he explains.

“I left pretty early and got a job in a supermarket in Red Hill and basically ran the joint,” he says with a laugh. “I was already this height and had this beard so looked a lot older.”

The incredible thing about Jai is he can write in any style, from formal writing to Aussie slang, to children’s literature and lighthearted poems.

Writing was always something that came easy to the gently spoken Jai, who would write pages and pages on an essay that only required a few paragraphs.

“I get inspiration from everything around me. It could be a rock I see in the garden, a person making a comment, or just a line or

“I guess I discovered my love for writing at school when I used to write more than I needed to. I also wrote poetry here and there for my girlfriend in the early days when I was around 18 so I don’t know if it’s any good.” His passion and gift for the English language is outstanding, with his influences coming from the greats like Henry Lawson, Pratchett, and Spike Milligan, and now the young writer cannot stop. “The proverbial flood gates are well and truly opened and I write all the time,” said Jai, who has 10 to 12 notebooks scattered around the house and takes one with him everywhere he goes.


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E ssence


March 2018

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Peninsula Essence March 2018  
Peninsula Essence March 2018  

Peninsula Essence March 2018