Most of you reading this probably got here from my stories on /r/NoSleep. If that is the case, hello again my friend. If you found me in any other way, Welcome!
My name is Darius Pilgrim and I’m a writer. I especially enjoy writing Horror, Sci-Fi, and Fantasy, sometimes flavored with comedic irreverence and garnished with splashes of philosophy and religion. I’ve always known I was a writer, but I haven’t always been brave enough to admit it to myself.
I grew up reading: before school, after school, during class with a novel hidden behind my text book. I would read anything I could get my hands on, but my favorite author as a child was Stephen King. I can still remember sneaking my library’s copy of ‘The Stand’ into my bed room to read by flashlight after lights out. A love of reading led me to writing: poetry, short stories, fanfiction, and pen-and-paper RPG campaigns. Once in college I began vast amounts of non-fiction writing on my way to earning a B.A. in history. I left with a larger vocabulary, larger alcohol tolerance, and a mountain of debt.
Since then I’ve worked as a door-to-door cable salesman, cellphone salesman, insurance agent, IT helpdesk personnel, substitute teacher, middle school teacher, and high school teacher. While I enjoyed parts of each of these jobs, none of them ever seemed quite right. All of these jobs could be boiled down to this: convincing people they needed what I had. My problem was, I was never proud and confident of ‘what I had’ because ‘what I had’ wasn’t mine; it was someone else’s product, service, or lesson rubric that I was being paid to shill. None of these jobs let me do what I now believe I am meant to do: create. I was miserable.
I tried to keep up with my writing and journaling, and partially succeeded. But my writing always seemed to be partial stories I would grow bored of, or sprawling outlines for epic novels I would never end up writing. I loved thinking about my stories, writing down notes, dreaming about plot lines; but the actual act of sitting down and writing, the nitty-gritty work part of writing, I always seemed to avoid or put off. I was busy, I was tired, I was lazy.
Recently my life has taken a drastic turn. In 2016 I was a married full time Social Studies teacher with a 3 bedroom apartment, two cats, and a dog. In 2017 I’m single, out of work, and without a home of my own. After the life I knew disintegrated before my very eyes I didn’t know what to do. Actually, I do know what I wanted to do: nothing. I didn’t want to accept the change, I wanted to go about in pity for myself and wallow in the misery. And I did. For a good long while I did.
Finally, not knowing what else to do, I hit the road, staying with friends and family, sleeping on couches and mattresses on the floor, and doing some exploration overseas. I thought I’d find the answer out there.
After arriving back in the states with no idea how to proceed, I found and read through my old copy of Vonnegut’s ‘Slaughter House Five’. I was inspired by a scene in which the book’s protagonist is speaking with his roommate in a psychiatric hospital, a science fiction obsessed man named Eliot Rosewater, who may or may not be insane. Rosewater gives this advice:
“There is one other book, that can teach you everything you need to know about life… it’s The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky”.
Since I had recently failed (in the traditional sense) so badly at life, I desperately wanted some kind of guide, some obscure skeleton key to ‘everything I needed to know about life’. I’d already tried the bible for a few decades and it hadn’t worked, so I figured I’d give Kurt’s suggestion a shot. I picked up The Brothers Karamazov for $2.99 at a used book store, quickly finished it, loved it, and needed more. So I read Crime and Punishment. And then the flood gates were opened and I was reading constantly, weighty classic tomes and light popcorn horrors, whatever I could find. It was just like when I was a kid all over again. I stopped watching television, stopped watching movies, deleted all social media, and just read.
The more I immersed myself in literature the more I thought about my own writing. I was dreaming in stories and walking up in the night to write down plot points and character arcs. Then two things happened that changed my life. First, I read Stephen King’s On Writing. Secondly I discovered the NoSleep community on reddit.
I won’t spoil too much of On Writing for anyone who hasn’t read it, but between it’s covers King delivers a masterclass on both writing technique and self-discipline; on the commitment needed to actually produce. Turn the potential into the actual. I’ve always laughed at self-help books, seminars, and workshops. But here is (arguably) the world’s best selling and highest producing author telling me exactly how he does what he does. I decided to listen to him. And then something just clicked.
I started writing. I started writing a lot. I started writing consistently. I found my voice.
But who would read it? How would I know if it was any good? Literary magazines are basically dead. I’m not a part of any hip insider artists groups, and I’m not paying to join any. I just wanted to create and have it mean something to someone. Where could I find readers? That’s when I discovered /r/nosleep, an amazing community with over 10 million subscribers dedicated to horror fiction and the suspension of disbelief. I decided to put on of my stories up to see what happened, and boy was so nervous that first time. I took a deep breath and reminded myself: the only way to get better is write consistently and practice. Then I hit post.
To my great surprise my stories were quite well received. The up votes kept going up. People started sending me messages of praise and sending me ‘reddit gold’. I even started receiving offers from youtubers and podcasts asking to narrate my story. I have to admit, it felt good to be acknowledged. Really good. This is what I’ve always wanted to do (which the logical business side of my brain told me I couldn’t and shouldn’t do) and here I am: doing it.
This is what I want my life to be. This is what I want to do. Life shattering events have put me in a place where I can do it, and I really have nothing left to lose. So why not do it?
I know I’m not the “World’s Greatest Writer,” but I think I’m pretty decent. I enjoy reading my own stories and I know a lot of you out there do too. I think I could be a whole lot better, with time. And practice.
Any amount you pledge each month will go towards just that, providing for my basic living necessities (I live pretty sparse and don’t need much) so that I can focus full time on writing. I have a multitude of short stories and plans laid for three novels. It would be my greatest joy to be able work full time on bringing these stories into the world. If you enjoy my work and would like to see more please consider becoming a patron by clicking here
Whew, you made it! This about page has become a bit of a novel itself. Thank you for reading and thank you for your support!