My job is stories | Steven Camden aka Polarbear

My job is stories | Steven Camden aka Polarbear

My job is stories.

I am lucky enough to write and speak stories for the page, screen, stage and radio.

I have been all over the world because the stories I tell, visited festivals, spoken on panels, sat on Breakfast TV couches, recorded garbled sound bite promos down expensive camera lenses.

And it’s all fun.

But, by far and away the best part of my job is going out to meet people. Whether in schools, community centres, referral units or anywhere else, nothing gets me more hyped and inspired than being in a space with a group of people, talking ideas.

Last week I was part of the Hay Festival Scribblers tour. A week long road trip around Welsh universities, with schools groups bussed in for sessions with myself, Gemma Cairney and the brilliant Hay team.

It was fantastic.

We created characters, talked about families, loves, mistakes, embarrassing texts, pressures and what makes a story matter. I got overly excited, talked too fast and ran out of time in every single session, lost in the cyclone of energy that is creative collaboration. And every night, as I got into my prearranged hotel bed (thank you Aine), I smiled the smile of a human who knows they have found something important they love to do.

I’m wary of this feeling like too gushy and self congratulatory a post. Yeah, yeah, Steven, you love your job, you feel lucky, and important, blah blah blah.

But truth is, I don’t really care.

I remember school.

I remember shuffling around with a head full of ideas and emotions, and no sense of what they could be used for. I remember having no idea about creative jobs or that people like me were allowed to tell stories. I remember coasting along without a sense of genuine purpose, then discovering writing in my late teens through letters exchanged with my girlfriend and feeling a shift in the universe. I never encountered anything like the scribblers tour or met someone who worked in a creative field and loved their job.

Organising festivals is great. Putting on events in marquees with interesting, brilliant people in a beautiful setting with wine and yummy green room food is awesome.

Equally awesome and, in my opinion, even more important, is going out to places who might not be able to attend. Places that often get skimmed over by the fingers of funders on their way to pointing at more recognisable locations.

Not everyone should be a writer. Not everyone should want a job like mine.

But every single person everywhere deserves to know that doing what I do for a living is an option and that if they want to have a go, they are allowed.

Scribblers helps let them know.

Thanks for having me.

Steven Camden aka Polarbear is part of the Hay Festival Scribblers Tour 2018, which takes writers direct to pupils across Wales in events at Welsh universities. Find out more here.