Paul Davies
 

This résumé was first coded for Lynx in 1993, then as a web page in 1997. It's much abbreviated now because I'm no longer self-employed; moreover, am retiring pretty soon. For a career summary, please visit my profile at LinkedIn.
A list of my fiction titles appears further down on this page, along with some newspaper and magazine reviews. Here in a PDF are the six short episodes of All the Realms mentioned in my Amazon.com Author Central biography.
The Tibetan sadhana and prayer texts I've produced and published are shown at the bottom of this page. Here is a Tibetan prayer flag heavy with Tibetan-Sanskrit, with illustrations of the five dignities. The typesetting entailed many days of intensive work; which a good friend followed with the very difficult job of screen printing a 30 x 44 inch stencil on cotton in one piece.
My Cornish language lexicon was closed in January 2009 after ten years of operation. You are still welcome to write to me at paul@pauldavies.net if I can help with your house names and whatnot. The Victorian-era sources from which I created the resource were suddenly available in complete searchable facsimiles at Google Books, and the more relevant Cornish Language Board sources are protected by copyright and could not be adapted by me into a web-database format.


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Paul

Paul Davies has been employed in writing, commercial art, publishing, consulting, business management, and computer programming and application design for forty-four years.

Born in Vancouver, Paul came to Toronto in 1970 to study baroque music at the Royal Conservatory of Music. Taking an interest in typography, Paul studied Book Arts at night after completing high school; founding an antiquarian bookselling business in 1971 (the youngest person ever admitted to the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers). In 1974, Paul began a craft publishing enterprise, Basilike, featuring the work of English authors prominent in the 1930s and 40s. His publishing archive is now at the University of Alberta, and was the topic of a non-thesis Master of Library Science project in 1981. Paul was invited to write a memoir of this project which was published by Carleton University Press in 1987.

In the late 1970s, Paul attended the University of Toronto in mathematics, while assisting his older brother to establish Aya Press, a successful small literary publishing house, which operated for eight years. Over this time Paul spent his summers as a motorcycle racer, and was also a volunteer broadcaster for the Radio Reading Service. Subsequently, Paul held management positions in purchasing, merchandising, and distribution for a division of Polygram Records, managing a staff of twenty-five.

In 1981, Paul found employment in Calgary, Alberta, where for four years he was engaged as a research analyst and technical writer in frontier oil and gas. His major project was the data synthesis and writing of the Resource Management Plan for Lancaster Sound Region Hydrocarbon Development, a four-year, $1.2 million technical and environmental study under the direction of Dr. A.E. Pallister, O.C., in support of an application to drill an oil well offshore in the High Arctic (where Paul spent 48 weeks in field work). Other projects included the 1984 East Coast Petroleum Operators' safety study; principal staff writer for a frontier oil and gas industry magazine, APOA Review; and co-editing a bibliography of northern development, among other publications. As well, Paul's employer was a vendor of research documents, with hundreds of titles in print, and Paul administered the company's substantial print budget, preparing and designing a large number of publications. Paul studied part-time at the University of Calgary in mathematics and drama as his intensive schedule permitted. In his spare time Paul was active in pistol shooting competition, achieving national ranking in ISU Centre-Fire events.

Returning to Toronto in 1985, Paul was retained for a joint government-industry undertaking to conceive and implement an automated system for type and art for book manufacturing. This project was successfully completed, and enjoyed good publicity. Paul moved his business to a big country house in Frontenac County, Ontario, for two years, on a small hobby farm where he grew berries. Over the following twelve years under a concurrent book arts contract, Paul designed and produced more than one thousand trade and scholarly books, designed and implemented a second substantial computer production system for legal books, and won six national design awards. As well, Paul taught at Ryerson Polytechnical University for two years in computing methods for publishing, enjoying active recreational interests in opera, musical theatre, and Moorcroft pottery. Also at this time, in addition to frequent travel in Europe, Paul survived a gruelling seven-week overland trek along the Kathmandu Road through Tibet and Nepal.

Starting to write creative fiction on mythic themes in 1991, Paul published ten books over the following nine years with prominent Ontario and Quebec small presses. Paul's eleventh book, Some Sunny Day, a novella, was published in 2005 by Insomniac Press in Toronto, and was No. 1 sales rank in "Experimental Fiction" at Amazon.ca for fourteen months.

In 1997, Paul returned to the University of Toronto on a part-time basis, studying Latin grammar and semeiotics, while working independently doing website development and Flash programming, certified as a Java solution provider. Since 2000, Paul has been a project manager at a prominent Toronto software manufacturer, where he originally developed and now with a staff of twelve he operates a number of substantial online applications in global trade; which products are widely subscribed around the world, and for which undertaking he has travelled extensively in the United States and Northern Europe participating in conferences and seminars, and in 2013 was awarded a U.S. Patent for a component technology.

Paul now dedicates much of his spare time to his Vajrayana practice. In 2005, Paul put together a high-quality Tibetan language typesetter, and in recent years has produced several Sadhana practice and prayer books texts in Tibetan, English transliteration, and English translation [see below], also large Tibetan and Tibetan-Sanskrit prayer flags [enlarge in Acrobat to read].

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Books

 

Amazon.com Author Central Literary Biography

These books are remembrances, confessions, apologies, explanations, and complaints. They all arose from a single event which took place twenty-two years before any of them were written. Walking out in the early morning sun one day at midsummer in 1969, I was overcome with a tremendous resonance. It was a song, the Song of Amergin, which haunted me every day thereafter and (I discovered) brought me the memory of experiences long past. I tell this story in Exactly 12 cents and other convictions. I tell people now I could swim in those waters and not drown, but, while that may have been the case later, I struggled for many years before I began to understand its process. The essentials of that struggle I tell with added pathos in The Truth; later all the remembrances in a single stream in Some Sunny Day, both of which sold well and were well-received critically. As were Grace: A Story my most engaging book, I think, which enjoyed a college course adoption in the U.S., and my first collection Oblique Litanies: Nine Conversations and an Afterthought.

I'm grateful to have had many insightful reviews in magazines and newspapers over the years, from many distinguished critics. There's always one or two who don't like some particular book, of course. A well-known poet used to come out for each of my books, to stone me in one of the Halifax papers, but I was happy for his attention also. Oh, I will add one retort for the reviewer of The Truth in The Toronto Star: Yes, if you own a 1957 Pontiac you can start it up on a cold January morning in Alberta by blowing in the carburetor. A hair dryer would have been better, mind you.

The only one of my books that did not have any good reviews to speak of was Pig Iron, a story in several voices written for film.* Another, A Dialogue for Five Voices, was not reviewed, apart from a passing notice in The Globe and Mail. It is not a remembrance of the past, but of the future, stirred by someone I knew years ago. My friend was among the soldiers trapped and starving on the mountainside for many months during the siege of Monte Cassino. He only volunteered a few words to me. The episodes of this career could not be told.

A memory of my own future, the episodes of my life now as it happens. The song still resonates, but one finds oneself so much older so very suddenly, and out in the cold somewhat. The conversations cannot continue. I am assured at least that my experience creating this writing — the journey, if you like — was the maximum possible that the activity as a category can provide.

I've had worse than this, mind you. I was a school patrol on December 15 1964, in Grade 6 at Crestwood Elementary School in Edmonton, Alberta, the day it was colder than it had ever been before, or has ever been since. The radio announcer didn't say "Crestwood" reading his list of school closures, so my friend Grant and I went on our way, fulfilling our duty at the 96th Avenue crosswalk along the way, unaware that thousands of beef cattle were that moment freezing solid on their feet in their shelters. The blizzard raged with much snow, high winds, and bitter cold. I saw on the front page of the Edmonton Journal that evening, delivered by another boy indifferent to the crisis, a chart showing the windchill temperature of -90°F. Back then the transit bench by the crosswalk on 96th Avenue was painted with the slogan "Rest and Read the Journal", but there was no one relaxing there with the newspaper that day.



Oblique Litanies: Nine Conversations and an Afterthought. ECW Press, 1992

Exactly 12¢ and other convictions. ECW Press, 1994

The Wreck of the Apollo. ECW Press, 1994

Dropping the Chase: The Thirteen Enigmas of the Goddess annotated with Thirteen Stories and a Complaint. ECW Press, 1995

Grace: A Story. ECW Press, 1996

Gelignite Jack. Véhicule Press, 1996

Joe Ironstone: A Drama for Radio. ECW Press, 1997

Pig Iron. Véhicule Press, 1997

A Dialogue for Five Voices. ECW Press, 1997

The Truth. Insomniac Press, 1999

Some Sunny Day. Insomniac Press, 2005


Covers and more about Davies' books can be found in the Writing section of this portfolio.
See Some Sunny Day at Amazon.ca.
See The Truth at Amazon.com.
See Gelignite Jack at Amazon.com.
See Pig Iron at Amazon.com.

* Pig Iron is a novel in several voices, is the only one of my books that did not have good reviews. The book is a complaint about what I perceived to be troublesome about Christianity, although I did not have the schadenfreude to make that objective plain at the time. The narrative method employed is in truth an interpretation of my experience of the Christian world-view, which moved me to Buddhism as a child. The person in the novel is trying to make up a failing to someone else, when they've already forgiven him. What he can't do is forgive himself.
While the dispute pursued in the story is irrelevant to me now, its imagery is clear. The story begins with its central character, Breithaupt, reflecting in a chapel. He was a woodworker before gathering his followers and commencing his mission, before his followers narrated their versions of those shared events.
One of the characters in the story, Ephram, is Jewish and a Holocaust survivor. Ephram's practical, earthy voice evokes the practical but detached Old Testament authorities in the New. Involving Ephram in that event of absolute suffering, and his role with the boy, brings emphasis to the my difficulty with the Christian remedy to human suffering.
The tertiary material at the end of the book provides too much guidance; my experience of Bible study as a child. The book is dedicated to my brother, who also left Christianity as a young person, although for Orthodox Jewry and not Buddhism. I am warmer to Christianity again now.
Before and since my books have been praised for their courage and risk-taking. Risks have to fail with the critics from time-to-time or they are not worthy of that description.

 

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Blurbs

 

"The title of this novella [Some Sunny Day] comes from 'We'll Meet Again,' a melancholy WWII song that promises that two lovers will reunite, even when both of them know that death is more likely. The book is about finding the promise of reunion fulfilled, not in this life, but in the next, or perhaps the next after that. The book is a series of vignettes — some almost short-story length, some only a few paragraphs. Each vignette introduces us to another life during another period in history. The vignettes move around geographically too; some take place in Tibet, some Ireland, some the United States and Canada. The real beauty of this book is that the author is able to pull off the voices of so many different women (and a few men) of many different ages and make them sound believable. There are a few false notes — the characters in the opening and closing sequences are somewhat flat and cliché — but overall, the different narrators make each of their stories intriguing. Although the publisher's website calls this book 'a death diary,' it is richer and more complex than that. Most of the stories are from the point of view of someone near or just after death and are a life review. Many speak about their wholes lives and some focus on a thwarted or lost love that came later in life. There are many religious references, including a very clever piece about the Greek gods in a sort of purgatory, but the dominant theme is derived more from Buddhism. The order (a reverse chronology until the end piece) and substance of the vignettes suggest that one person is being reborn again and again. I did not find this to be a true 'death diary,' especially since it ended on the positive note of renewal. It was more a diary of many lives, nearly all of them fascinating and well-worth at least one read, if not two." (Christine Hamm, Online Magazine review of Some Sunny Day)

"The casual simplicity of style is an apt vehicle for a keen postmodern intelligence. This clean style and simply-rendered urban spirituality brings to mind Banana Yoshimoto's Kitchen of a few years back. Davies manner also resembles a reigned-in Kurt Vonnegut. Davies as a fiction writer deserves a medal for restraint. Truth is, this is one engaging, unique, yet utterly readable book. I'll buy the next installment of Davies's life, fiction or not." (Bill Gaston, The Globe and Mail, on The Truth)

"From a well-traveled, much-published (nine books) Canadian writer, who has tried his hand at a bewildering number of careers, comes a candid, intelligent and splendidly droll little autobiographical novel. In 108 short chapters, or 'thoughts,' the nameless protagonist recounts his meandering life from birth in 1954 to middle-age, assuming the roles of, variously, a musician, book designer, motorcycle racer and mathematician. In his mid-20s, after abandoning his first successful incarnation as an antiquarian bookseller, he embarks on a quest to find meaning in his life, and in 1978 begins a friendship with cult figure Lobsang, an English plumber miraculously transformed into a self-styled Tibetan mystic. The narrator's subsequent travels include stops all over Canada, odysseys to the U.K. and the U.S. and an expedition near Baffin Bay in the High Arctic, but his culminating adventure is his quest for his great love, Gabrielle, a dancer in musical theater, which goes tantalizingly unrealized until the novel's bittersweet denouement. Davies's hero, a modern-day hybrid of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, jousts at scores of life's windmills, but he pokes fun at himself along the way, almost always avoiding the spiritual sponginess that is the hazard of the book's theme. In short, sharp sentences, Davies gives an ironic yet affectionate account of a nomadic, self-searching life. Readers will be left wondering what this New Age Renaissance man will come up with next." (U.S. Publishers Weekly, on The Truth)

"The term Renaissance Man is often applied to those who dabble in just two or three different fields. But what else can you call someone who's formally studied music, higher mathematics, and graphic design and worked as a typesetter, technical writer, music marketeer, oil and gas industry consultant, antiquarian bookseller, cartoonist, and even computer programmer? Meet Paul Davies." (Quill & Quire, biographical profile 1989)

"Using ironic juxtaposition, Davies knits incidents with epiphanies. I nominate [Davies] for late night radio guru he always writes with a whimsical, indeed, lovable voice." (Canadian Book Review Annual, on Oblique Litanies)

"Books like [Oblique Litanies] are rare, and we should have more of them. Davies is a tangential conversationalist, and these pieces have many angles." (Geist)

A "journal account of a late 18th-century shipwreck, narrated by the ship's second officer. The book is especially well-designed and by the time you've finished reading it you've been simply but thoroughly satisfied." (The Toronto Star, on The Wreck of the Apollo)

"The text [of Exactly 12¢ and other convictions] deftly evokes the monumental significance of small things to children and youths, and the heady feeling of building an inner world within a newly discovered shared culture of like-minded people." (Paragraph)

"[An] existential who-done-it stories that, in sum, carry Gelignite Jack's dominant narrative and collectively constitute one of the most ingenious compact pieces of detective fiction." (Books in Canada)

"For a seven-week period in 1991, Paul Davies and a group of fellow travelers journeyed through south-central Tibet. That trek was the inspiration for these stories, which are presented as annotations to the 13 enigmas of the Goddess contained in the Book of Leacan. The stories seamlessly blend historical commentary with vivid evocations. [T]his beautifully produced book abounds with dry amiable humour.... The author of Oblique Litanies, The Wreck of the Apollo, and Exactly 12¢ and other convictions has in these elegant marvels of concision proven once again that less is more." (Canadian Book Review Annual, on Dropping the Chase)

"Davies' volume is [small] and poetic. [S]traightforward and subtle written almost as an extended postcard from China, the sections are [annotations to] the enigmas of the Goddess figure, written in 10th-century Ireland. A strange and compelling short travelogue, there are levels and heights here I haven't quite figured out yet." (Ottawa XPress, on Dropping the Chase)

"I applaud [Davies'] boldness [Grace and Dropping the Chase] display a remarkable refusal to be constrained by earlier assumptions about the plausible and the acceptable. They possess a haunting quality I suspect will be with me for a long time." (W.J. Keith)

"Grace: A Story by Paul Davies is an engaging, interesting, and implausible combination of historical fiction, science fiction, and fantasy, with didactic elements from comparative mythology and elsewhere ... [A] real and particular mind and talent are at work in this book. The book is ambitious in its metaphysics. Paul Davies has a good feeling for the incongruities of juxtaposing ancient and modern times; in this he reminds me of E. Nesbit, Charles Williams, and C.S. Lewis. Davies wisely (more wisely than Milton) keeps all eminences except Xenophon off stage. It is odd for a book to join, as this does, such a good sense of humour and such sententiousness." (Books in Canada)

"Grace: A Story packs an existential punch and enriches readers with a technical knockout exquisitely well-crafted, illuminated with wit, compassion, and warmth. Hallelujah!" (Judith Fitzgerald)

"Grace is enchanting, and I use that word precisely." (Philip W. Leon)

"This ingeniously structured book comprises three thematically linked stories .... Taken as a whole, the book is both an expression and celebration of storytelling and the endurance of the oral tradition. Readers who embrace Gelignite Jack on its own terms will be amply rewarded." (Canadian Book Review Annual)

"Decidedly enigmatic but very intriguing ... offered confidently in a factual take-it-or-leave-it fashion that worked so far as I was concerned. Easily [Davies'] best yet." (W.J. Keith, on Gelignite Jack)

"Davies possesses a probing intelligence with insights and ideas." (Quill & Quire, on Gelignite Jack)

"Certain to be a 'sleeper' hit." (Missing Jacket, on Gelignite Jack)

"A journey from youthful dreams to adulthood and old age which gains power as it goes along." (Montreal Mirror, on Gelignite Jack)

"This radio play evokes a more innocent time in the history of Canada's favourite sport. The attitudes of players, managers, fans, family, and the press are well articulated in this terse and effective drama. Joe and his teammates are depicted as thoughtful human beings, as athletes not yet bloated to the size of media superstars." (Canadian Book Review Annual, on Joe Ironstone

 

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Tibetan language texts, many transcribed from mediaeval u-med script, all composed in modern u-chen and transliterated with English translation, published by the Riwoche Society (2005 through 2015). Thirty-seven books have been completed.
Eyestrain has stopped me working from the manuscripts, with the Dudjom Rinpoche Quintessence of the Profound Path (a rite of purification for guiding the dead) stalled for the moment with only about ten pages to go.

These titles are included here on the possibility that it might help people looking for the texts in a quality format to locate them.

  • A Concise Recitation of the Preliminary Practices of the New Treasures of Dudjom [Ngondro]
  • The Sadhana of Tröma Nagmo: The Sun of Primordial Wisdom [Chöd]
  • A Short Practice of Tara
  • Medicine Buddha Sadhana [Sangye Menla]
  • The "Lotus Lattice" Field Accomplishment Practice Lineage Prayer called "Lotus Iron Hook"
  • Ushnishavijaya's Dharani Accomplishment and Offering Ritual, Clearly Arranged, and Called "Stainless Jewel"
  • Dark Blue Akshobya: The Ultimate and Permanent Vajra
  • Chenrezig Meditation: For the Benefit of All Beings as Vast as the Skies
  • Liturgies for the Dakini Tsok
  • Pema Sangthig: The Sadhana of Immortal Life from The Secret Essence of the Lotus
  • Shower of Blessings: A Guru Yoga based on the Seven Line Prayer
  • Sadhanas of Avalokiteshvara Khorwa Dongtruk
  • Sangye Won Sadhana and Tsok
  • Vajrakilaya Sadhana
  • A Liturgy of the Buddha: The Blessing Treasure of Mipham
  • Aspiration Prayer from "Undertaking The Conduct"
  • Aspiration Prayer of Maitreya
  • Daily Clapping Practice of Shinghamukha
  • Inspiration-Prayer for Deliverance from the Dangerous Pathway of the Bardo
  • Meditation on the Four Immeasurables
  • Mountain Sang Offering: The Cycle of the Heart Sadhana of the Knowledge Holders
  • Offering Prayers
  • Pureland Prayer
  • Repelling Disharmony with The Heart Sutra
  • Repelling Rite of Ushnishavijaya
  • Teachings on the Six Bardos
  • The Aspiration Of Sukavati: The Pure Realm of Great Bliss
  • The Aspiration of the Vajradhatu Mandala Chokchu Düshi
  • The Great Perfection Aspiration Prayer of Samantabhadra
  • The Heart Sutra
  • The King of Noble Prayers Aspiring to the Deeds of the Excellent
  • The Lineage Supplication for Thigle Gyachen: The Most Secret Way to Accomplish the Guru
  • The Offering of the Five Vessels
  • The Root Verses of the Six Bardos
  • The Stanzas of Offering Water from the Pure Vision: An Ocean of Blessings
  • The Supplication of Calling with Longing
  • Yeshe Tsogyal's Prayer to Guru Rinpoche as He Left Tibet
  • Prayer to Chenrezig by Yeshe Tsogyal
  • Aspiration Prayer for the Increase of the Glorious Taklung Doctrine
  • Tranquility Meditation
  • Verses of the Eight Noble Auspicious Ones
  • The Sublime Discourse of the Greater Vehicle called Immeasurable Life and Pristine Awareness
  • The Inexpressible Absolute Purification
  • The Stainless King
  • The Fourteen Root Transgressions
  • The Eight Secondary Transgressions
  • Lamp Offering Prayer
  • The Brief Fulfillment Prayer

   

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