To write something and leave it behind us,
           It is but a dream
When we awake we know
           There is not even anyone to read it.
                                 --Ikkyu (1394-1481)

About this website. This website offers a selection of writings of Richard S. Platz, including novels, short stories, poems, and backpacking accounts. Many of the writings may be read at no cost. All copyrights and reservations of rights apply.

About the Author. Richard S. Platz has retired from the practice of law in Humboldt County, California. He received his B.A. degree in philosophy from Northwestern University in 1964, where he was first published in the TriQuarterly, the University's literary magazine. In 1967 he received his J.D. degree from the University of California at Berkeley, serving as an associate editor of the California Law Review. After practicing law in Berkeley and Oakland, Mr. Platz spent two years in Mexico, near Guadalajara. In 1977 he established his sole general practice in Blue Lake, a rural town in Northern California with a population of 1150, where he served as City Attorney for 32 years. He has written his entire adult life, including essays, poems, short stories, and novels. Some of his works reflect his experiences in the courtroom and in Mexico.



What if your freedom to travel were taken away? After the death of his wife, Tildie, weary old dirt farmer Shadrack Smithers feels the need to take a road trip beyond the boundaries of his farm in the Surprise Valley of northeast California. He wants to return to the Ozarks, where he and Tildie had begun their family. Elan Groves, Shadrack's neighbor, wants to go along for the ride, and so does his teenage daughter Katie. Problem is, none of them have got a travel permit, and times have gotten weird. Government is fragmenting. Civil order is breaking down. Not until Shadrack makes it to his destination, do we learn the true purpose of his journey. Along the way, encounters with an overworked policeman and a rejuvenated preacher turn everything upside down. This is the story of Shadrack's quest for solace on a circular journey for redemption, and his deepening involvement in his home community.

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The Dancing Dead. "Molly" wasn't her real name. She couldn't remember her parents or what they had called her. So many names had come and gone since then. And so many lives. (2016 short story, 3 pages, 1,310 words) (PDF version)

Mirror. He couldn't see himself in the mirror. Was this a dream? Or death? Or something even more fundamental? (2017 short story, 3 pages, 1,000 words) (PDF version)

Heaven. In His infinite wisdom, God said to Himself, "Whoa, I got a better idea." (2018 short story, 1 page, 380 words) (PDF version)

Doña. She was with him in the forest. They ate peyote. Then she was gone. (2018 short story, 8 pages, 3200 words) (PDF version)



These are accounts of backpacking and dayhiking. While not intended as a guidebook, they do nonetheless contain photographs and data about trails, access to trailheads, and the location of good campsites that hikers may find of use. Located in the mountainous border region of northern California and southern Oregon, the State of Jefferson is more a state of mind than a political reality. But here lie plentiful wilderness areas and undesignated wildlands. This is a work in progress.

"It made me feel like I had been there with you, though without all the pain."--George Platz

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VANISHING POINT, And Other Stories

This book is like an old-time train steaming westward. For the outdoor enthusiast it carries two backpacking stories, a whitewater rafting account, and a tale of a Native American snagged by the Border Patrol as he treks through the Sonoran desert. My first and only Western rides along. The baggage car holds a robot butler, a paramilitary elementary school, four quantum spaceships, and a flawed solution to overpopulation, among other stories. The passengers are characters from the stories. Each is different. Some are of different times, others of different places, and still others of different realities. But the characters all seem comfortable riding along together in this single volume, and I trust that the reader will share their comfort.

Man Eaten: To sort things out Ernie Ackerman undertakes a solo backpack trip to Man Eaten Lake.
Mrs. Wigmore's Troops: Mrs. Wigmore basks in the joy of the children at recess, until she has to press the red button.
Barriers: Along the Mexican border Jacob Ramirez encounters unexpected barriers at the intersection of three cultures.
Three New Years: Evan Layton rings in four New Years as he flies west.
Pardners: In the Old West a lawyer and a stage coach driver have to rely on his pardner.
The Woodsman: Lost in the woods, Nolan Anders learns to be a woodsman.
The Butler: The robot butler seems to think he is somebody.
River: Bunky gets more than a taste of true wilderness on his first whitewater rafting trip.
In Which Universe?: The spaceships didn't look like spaceships at all.
And five more stories.

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"Here is a handful of short stories, composed from my memories and from my imagination. They are recollections and they are fictions. That is to say, they are all fictions." --from the author's Preface.

Prayer: Kerouac's novel and an unrequited love are the twin blades cutting the fabric of a young man's destiny.
Gandy Dancer: What if Big Bad John had been a railroad man?
The Ride: A hitchhiker should be careful before climbing in.
Pookie: Jason Puker is a force of nature, but only one other person knows the secret of his obsession.
Hacienda: Ben and Charlize buy a house, sight unseen, in the rural highlands of Mexico.
Cover Crop: A Zen trainee discovers that global warming may not be an accident.
Balance: At a contentious public hearing a mayor may find it hard to achieve balance.
Revelation: Without a firm deadline, it's tough to get around to getting something done. Even if it's God's will.

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DREAMTIME, Selected Short Stories

"These short stories are inventions of the mind. Some will be called fantasies. Others science fiction. Still others daydreams. Or myths. Or metaphors. The truth is that they are all merely inventions. A few have such firm footing in science that they will almost certainly come to pass. Others, not so much. What they have in common is that they are the stuff of dreams."

Web: What would happen if the World Wide Web were to become conscious?
Genome: Their first task was to draw a blood sample from the baby Jesus. After that, the mission got tricky.
Mescalito: In the blinding Chihuahuan desert, it can be difficult to tell mirage from reality.
New Moon: Following the pilot truck down the one-lane corridor can sometimes lead to an unexpected place.
The House with the Christmas Lights: Herb thought he saw a ghost. Or was it a creature lying nearer to his own mind?
Timestop: If time travel is possible, then why don't we encounter anyone from the future?
The Cabin: Lester Ames is content to live alone in his log cabin in the woods. Until he falls asleep.
He Sees You When You're Sleeping: What does Santa bring us when we're naughty?
And five more stories of the odd.

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Project Divine Wind is a cybernetic courtroom thriller flavored with mystery and romance. Attorney Jed LeBaron's representation of a young black man accused of simple burglary leads him to the federal courts for a determination of whether a self-aware machine, a synthesis of genetic engineering and computer science, is entitled to the basic civil rights of a human being.

LeBaron studied in Berkeley in the mid-Sixties and came away with a law degree. But what next? Returning from a long stay under the Mexican sun, he finds employment representing criminal defendants in the down and dirty neighborhoods of Oakland. His employer, Cedrick P. Collins, Esq., is a former longshoreman who earned his law degree from correspondence school and is now the most charismatic, elegantly dressed, and silver tongued African American criminal defense lawyer in the Bay Area. Law school never prepared LeBaron for coping with Collins' streetwise clients. This novel contains a realistic look at the underside of the legal justice system based on the author's own experience. 436 pages.

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The young Crown Prince is not happy. The darling of the realm, he is a product of an age of plenty in a kingdom protected by the Sorcerer's magic from savage barbarians at the borders. The Prince is representative of his generation, only somehow more so, as if painted in vivid colors by a more passionate hand. One would suppose him content. But inside he rages after the elusive goal of perfection and is ravaged by unquenchable desire. Neither philosophy nor faith can satisfy his longing. He turns to the Sorcerer for mastery of the magical. But here there is no real magic, only madness. Or to put it another way, there is only the magic of the everyday world, and all attempts to suborn it are madness. The result is a brutally honest coming-of-age novel, built from the bricks and mortar of real life. Through romance, adventure, humor, and a smattering of philosophy, Of Magic and Delusion explores hope, love, obsession, addiction, and self-delusion. Suitable for mature young adults prepared to face the truth. 160 pages.

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by James A. Kline & Richard S. Platz

Appointment at Angahuan is a contemporary novel of adventure, suspense, and international intrigue. Three young Americans are unwittingly drawn into the maelstrom of Presidential politics in Mexico as the Tarascan Indian people try to break the stranglehold of the conservative PRI party. Psychologist Dr. Jeff Rivers and Archaeologist Shimoko Johanson, in search of an ancient Tarascan treasure, and attorney Jed LeBaron, a pawn in a political game, are thrown together in the lava tubes beneath the re-awakening Paricutin volcano, the headquarters of the shadowy leader of the secretive Ninos del Tecolote. Completed in 1982, this novel foreshadows by a decade the violent indigenous uprisings in the State of Chiapas, Mexico, and the drug cartel and weapons wars of today. 302 pages.

Co-author James A. Kline is a retired psychologist currently living in southwest Colorado. Dr. Kline has published numerous articles in professional journals, and has authored two books in his field, as well as a novel tracing the history of human's search for meaning. He has traveled extensively in Mexico. The beginning of Appointment at Angahuan may be viewed without charge, and if you would like to read the rest, the entire work may then be purchased from Amazon.

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Click on a title to read the poem:

They Say Electric Forces

The Jackson House

What Whispers in the Hush




Be sure to click on the Platzbrothers website logo for more from Rick and his big brother George.

Comments, questions,and licensing inquiries are welcome. Send them to: Richard Platz