I’m Connor, owner, operator, sole employee, and CEO (hah!) of Cities of the Mind, a freelance writing company. I write things about stuff, and sometimes I get paid for it.
I’m a writer in my mid-twenties, killing time until my best-selling novels hit the shelves and take the nation by storm. Killing time is a loose description; I am working like a meth-infused workaholic maniac to make ends meet, turning words into money, money into coffee, and coffee into more words. Make no mistake, though, those books are on their way, sooner or later.
In the meantime I loan my style(s), voice(s), and intellect to anyone who needs something written–for a price.
This was not how my life was supposed to go. I was going to be a scientist. I was raised as the older of two children in a great family, who supported every crazy idea I ever had, within reason. This has led to some heel-face-turns and some disappointments, but mostly, it led to a youth that I appreciate more with each passing year. I started taking college classes ten years ago, when I was fifteen. From there, I found myself in Socorro, at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, studying chemical engineering and molecular biology. I had an interest in synthetic medicine design.
Eventually, I could not stand the academically excellent but socially retarded isolation of small town New Mexico, and headed to Northern Arizona University. This killed my “graduate college as a teenager” plan, which was a longtime dream; that’s how badly I wanted out of there. Now, NAU is still a small-town university, but there’s a difference between being in the middle of nowhere and the middle of everywhere.
The culture and climate of Flagstaff, Arizona located at 7000 feet, an hour from the Grand Canyon, suited me better, and I was very happy there. Despite moving away from engineering, I found myself involved with Engineers Without Borders at NAU, eventually as a very good PR/Recruitment officer, and later as lackluster chapter President.
EWB gave me the chance to go to Ghana, Africa, and see what life was like there, whilst helping build nurses’ quarters for a local clinic and fixing boreholes (wells). This gave me a gift in the form of perspective, and memories that at times amuse and others haunt me. This one’s pretty good–this is one of the elders of the village, who wanted a picture of the two of us in the top of a tree I’d been climbing to take progress pictures of the nurse quarters we were building for the clinic.
I finished up my undergraduate degree (biology with a minor in biochemistry) and started up graduate school there, under a great adviser studying synthetic organic chemistry–basically, I applied the principles underlying Lego or Erector Sets to molecular systems, discovering ways to make naturally-occurring medicinal compounds in the lab. Don’t get me wrong, that was cool. And I liked teaching, but boy did I ever hate academia. There’s a terrible moment when you realize that you’re doing exactly what you always thought you wanted to do with your life, and it’s tying a noose around your neck. So I left.
I finished up my responsibilities as a lab instructor (which I quite enjoyed) and then I got in my car and drove away. I drove clear across the country. Then I drove all the way up into another country. Then I drove back across the country, and back down to Flagstaff. All-in-all I spent six months living with friends and in my car after visiting thirty-seven states and a handful of provinces. When I got back, I found myself happier, healthier, and more certain of what I wanted to do than I had ever been.
Writing was not going to be a hobby, or something I looked forward to doing in a few decades when I was retired and all my kids had graduated. No, writing was going to be my career. I decided I needed to make enough money to support myself, and buy a 28′ Bristol Channel Cutter. That was all.
Of course, writing is a tough racket to break into, and even with some genuinely lucky breaks (luck, in this case, is shorthand for “lots of really, really, really, really, hard work!”) I did a fair few other jobs. Hotel night auditor, tent repairer, dealer at a traveling casino, all the usual writer-type jobs. I’ve gone a bit hungry from time to time, but my cadre of awesome friends have kept me warm and happy at every turn.
Life is good.
This past year I’ve relocated to Phoenix and have pursued freelance writing exclusively. It’s come close a couple times to being a failed venture, but I am now making a decent sort of living as a ghostwriter and content creator. Am I excited? Oh yes! Am I still a long way from living off royalties and popping out novels on a sailboat? Yes. Just not as far away as last year, and believe me that feels good.
So that’s me: Writer, traveler, hard worker, guy who wants to live on a boat. Feel free to say hi!