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A Million Little Pieces Of My Mind

Paul S. Cilwa's Home Page

Paul S. Cilwa

Welcome!

This is my personal website, currently containing 2,007 pages of essays, photography, and more. I use it as a live journal. Here you'll find my travel photos and stories, autobiographical episodes, samples of my writing and music, and much more!

You may browse my site by Timeline (the entries that include dates, will appear in chronological order); you can view it hierarchically ("Contents"), by Topics (keywords) and even a simple alphabetical listing by Titles.

What's New on This Site

I've been tweaking the styles (CSS, technical stuff) and gradually updating the general look of the site to reflect my new location in Arizona (and less my previous location on Maui). Plus, I've been posting something almost every day!

How This Site Got Its Name

When I first created this website in 1997, its title was the same as its URL: PaulCilwa.com. There were only a little over a million websites that year, though more than three times as many as the year before. But, by 2005, most websites had site names that were distinct from their URLs (web addresses). For example, the site ONA.org was actually titled Ontario Nurses Association. Since I was, by then, developing this site as a blog, I decided to give it a bloggy-sort of name. But what?

I wanted to title it something that would express the range of which I hoped to write. A rejected title was As Far As The I Can C ('C' being the first letter of my last name, and yes, this would have been a ghastly title, which is why I didn't use it.)

But then, in 2003, there was a memoir by a guy named James Frey, A Million Little Pieces, that became a bestseller after Oprah Winfrey selected it for her book club in 2005. I wasn't a watcher of her show, but clips were everywhere, and the show itself was on public TV sets in doctor's offices, airports, and even bars. So I heard the title somewhere, and in a moment of inspired malaphor, put it together with a piece of my mind and voilà! the title for my website was born.

But the story doesn't stop there. It was later revealed that Frey had fabricated or exaggerated many of the events and details in his book, such as his criminal record, his injuries, and his relationships. In other words, basically the whole book. Had it been labeled fiction, there'd have been no problem. But, as a memoir, it was manure. Frey faced a backlash from the public, the media, and Winfrey herself, who confronted him on her show and accused him of lying to her and her viewers. Frey’s publisher dropped him and settled a lawsuit with the readers who felt deceived by his book. Frey’s reputation as a writer was severely damaged by the controversy, and he was widely criticized for exploiting the genre of memoir and betraying the trust of his readers.

So…should I have changed the name?

Ultimately I decided in favor of my title. To begin with, Frey did not invent the phrase a million little pieces. Secondly, the malaphor (an informal term for a phrase that combines two aphorisms, idioms, or clichés, such as let's burn that bridge when we come to it) continued to be utterly apt, so I opted to retain it.

So, welcome to A Million Little Pieces Of My Mind!

Contents

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Browse the site, organized by subject.

Here I've organized the pages by general interests, such as music or politics. I've also taken your interests in mind, dear reader; so here you'll also find an entry into specific series, like my Truck Driving Journal or my Alien Abduction diary.

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Timeline

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Browse the site in chronological order.

Many (although not all) pages on this site include a date and possibly time at which the event described occurred, the page was posted, or the page was updated. Here you can narrow a search down to as narrow a period as you like; or, alternatively, broaden it to all of time, set the Maximum Retrievals Per Page to 1000 and browse every page here!

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Topics

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Search the site by keyword.

Topics, keywords, hashtags…they are called by many names. If the list below has a keyword in it, clicking Search will list every page in this site with that keyword/topic/hashtag.

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Map

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Search the site by geographical location of the subject.

Click on a marked location to see what happened to me there.

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Titles

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Browse the site by page title.

If you can remember the title of a page you think is somewhere on this site, you can find it by browsing through every title of every page on this site.

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Most Popular

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My ten most popular posts.

Below are links to my ten most popular postings, starting with my all-time most-read posts.

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Contact Me

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How to contact Paul S. Cilwa.

The best way to contact me is…

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