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Medium account with 100+ stories, essays, and poems
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We First Met in Ithaca, or Was It Eden?

Elle and Oz, strangers ready to restart their lives, meet by chance and flirtatiously swap stories in a dark abandoned house.

 They soon sense that these stories are coming from an unknown source. It's as if they are watching the stories rather than telling them.

Then they become actors inside the stories, seeing and hearing as if they were the characters,

 affecting outcomes but still conscious of their separate contemporary selves in the dark abandoned house,

their attraction heightened by this mysterious adventure.

The stories transform: the two become characters from the Odyssey and Genesis, facing challenges in previous lives, challenges that they meet head-on .

Finally, and they find themselves in a future where whole populations have transferred themselves to (or been absorbed into) a massive computer network.
The human cycle of birth, death, and rebirth will end. They will live in that network forever.

But Elle and Oz have a choice.

Liam knows Shakespeare. All of Shakespeare. Every word of every play. No one knows how or why. But tell him a line, and he'll go into a trance and perform the whole play brilliantly.

He performs at the local beach pavilion, play after play. Audiences swell, despite obstacles, until an unruly crowd trashes this quiet town, and the show shuts down. 

Then a professor prompts Liam to recite a lost Shakespeare play and gets it staged at the Yale Bowl.

Years later, something even more extraordinary happens -- a Spartacus moment.

Why Knot? a personal quest

132 short essays -- some fun, some profound.

Intriguing observations based on common sense logic.

Ideas that could change your life or the world.

"I don't think outside the box. The very notion of 'the box' is an illusion taht limits the range of topics, squashes curiosity and creativity, and precludes innovative solutions. Please join me on my journey of exploration."
Categories covered:
Questions Big and Small
Identity, Memory, and Communication
Understanding Our World
Politics and Government
Literature, Reading, and Writing
Impact of Technology
Business and Product Ideas
Everyday Life

Echoes from the Attic

A romantic suspense novel.

Five strangers, two men and three women, share a Back Bay Boston
apartment like a multi-generational family.

High-tech high jinks, vengeful jealousy, and violent death combine
to complicate lives and loves.

The Lizard of Oz and Other Stories

Humorous fantasy for children and for adults who share stories with them.

An elementary school class sets out on a field trip to bring back enchantment
to the world. They learn that you hae to go under the world to stand under it
and understand it. And there are many levels of understanding. They meet
such characters as Mr. Shermin (who used to be a teacher until he decided
to be a fish, and then he knew how to turn himself into a fish, which not
 many people, even teachers, know how to do). Humpty Dumpty (who fell for
a little blue wallflower), Prince Frog (who would rather be a frog than a prince
because that's much less trouble), Sir Real (who has cereal instead of brains),
Lewis Carroll, the Knights of the Merry-Go-Round Table, the Mothers of Fact
(Miss Hap, Miss Take, and Miss Fortune), Mr. Plato, Daniel Boone, and
Joan of Noah's Ark.
Imagine The Phatom Tollboth crossing paths with a fifth grade class in
The Magic School Bus.

An antidote to social distancing, political chaos, environmental crisis, and war.
Laughs to help you get back to feeling normal.
3000 jokes, 500 pages, a pound and a half of laughs.

Grouped as:
     Trump and Company
     Nonsensical Science, Philosophy, History, and Religion
     Letter, Number, and Grammar Play
     Speaking in Tongues - Word Play in Two Languages
     Never Grow Up - General Fun
     Bedtime Whimsy and Romance
     Pithy jokes for every taste and mood and occasion.

This bittersweet comedy and romance has touches of tragedy and magic. Writing during the pandemic and feeling nostalgia for what has been lost, the narrator, Abe, recounts stories told around the dinner table on a Caribbean cruise two years before.

Abe explains the title:
"I'm writing from the midst of this crisis, not with the wisdom of hindsight. Even if it gets no worse than it is right now, much has been lost.
"I'm hoping that we can gether. That's a word that isn't in the dictionary.
"To gether is to find new ways to be together, new ways to meet, to bond, to love.
"Even when physically isolated, we can come together in spirit, to share experiences and emotions to the point that we are intimately connected.”
"In any case, may we always treasure our normal life, knowing, as we now know, that it is fragile and should never be taken for granted."

On one level, To Gether Tales is a collection of stories told around a dinner table. But it's also a novel, in which themes echo from one story to another and tellers both disguise and reveal themselves through what they say, all woven together in the frame of the narrator.

Amazon customer review -- 5.0 out of 5 stars Affairs to Remember

A refreshing antidote to the struggles borne of the pandemic, politics and threatening conflicts that haunt our daily lives. Richard Seltzer’s “To Gether Tales” takes us on an unusual ocean cruise that elevates our spirits and counteracts the current climate of cynicism and despair. Captivating, intimate and poignant stories brimming with romance, friendship, warmth, and humor bring a group of voyagers together. Seltzer's inventive and engrossing writing enables us to join the journey and participate as if we were on board, ourselves. We disembark feeling enchanted, renewed and reinvigorated.

The Princess Tango, a story from To Gether Tales, read by the author (YouTube video)

Shakespeare's twin sister wakes up in the body of a 99-year-old woman in a nursing home in 1987. Kate has quite a tale to tell:

-- her coming-of-age story, posing as a boy to get an education,

-- twins separated at birth sorting out the mystery of their otherworldly connection to one another,

-- a lifelong three-way love story,

-- soul projection and transference linking individuals to one another and connecting past to present,

-- and the story of a young reporter who falls in love with the soul he finds in the body of an old and dying woman.

As a cross-dressing sword-fighting teenager, Kate beats Mercutio, captain of the King's Musketeers, in a duel in Paris.

As Will's double and writing partner, Kate enables him to do the work of two geniuses.

This outlandish view of Shakespeare's life and times stays true to the facts, while presenting explanations that are intriguingly plausible.

Like Shakespeare in Love, this is a humorous, romantic take on Shakespeare the man.

Like Yentl, a brilliant young woman finds creative ways to succeed in a man-dominated world.

Amazon reviews --
"Richard Seltzer’s story, Shakespeare’s Twin Sister, is a clever insightful romp.
We first encounter Kate as Lettie, a 99-year-old woman in a nursing home, 1987.
Her personality transforms and she tells her “real” story to a young journalist, Bill Greene.
He, in turn, retells a surprisingly plausible tale of Kate’s multiple identities (male and female) as Shakespeare’s twin sister.
Apparently, Kate played a large role in the writing of the famous works.
Not only that, but she is an arch feminist in men’s clothing with longings of her own.
The book is full of good humor – the Arden family quotes lines from Shakespeare’s play in their daily banter.
The titles are fun too – “If You Incest!”
Read this novel – it’s a mind-bending hoot!

5.0 out of 5 stars
"Albert Einstein wrote: “The distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.” This revelation is illustrated in captivating literary form in Richard Seltzer’s “Shakespeare’s Twin Sister.”
In the setting of a nursing home, we find a 99-year old woman, who not only has a story of her early life, which is compelling in and of itself, but, also, a deeper tale, which challenges our assessment of our conventional, apparently linear existence. The duality of the consciousness of this amazing woman draws us in from the very beginning. Superimposed on this remarkable theme is the poignant love story of the reporter of this phenomenon for the younger self of the aged woman.
The theme revolves around the perspective of twins separated at birth, the girl belonging to a privileged family, the boy having a rough and tumble existence. Their common origin is unknown to both twins and they develop an attraction for one another. The boy is William Shakespeare, himself.
As always, Richard Seltzer’s books are both informative and imaginative. Here, we enter the realms of Russia, Elizabethan London and present-day America. Space and time are blurred like an Impressionist painting. Nevertheless, descriptions of place and historical anecdotes are true and told in a vivid manner so that we feel as if we are there.
Richard Seltzer’s novels dare us to extrapolate our own present-day existence with that of our past, possibly hidden, and future, so that our “souls” can shift or even transfer. That is the intellectual and engaging challenge of all of Richard Seltzer’s books."

Breeze, a young woman in present-day Connecticut, goes into a medically inexplicable coma. Her boyfriend, Yannie, a senior at Yale, has to get her the help she needs to survive while trying to solve the mystery of this goddess-like free spirit who appeared out of nowhere two months before.

In part two, Breeze awakens in a different body in a different place and time. She is at Troy in the body of Briseis, love-slave of Achilles. She fears she’ll be taken for a demon. She knows the story she is trapped in, and she learns that she can make changes in what the story leaves unsaid, so long as she doesn't alter the direction of the narrative.

In part three, Breeze finds herself in still another body. It's the fourth century AD and she’s at the temple of the Eleusinian Mysteries, near Athens. A young woman lies down on the altar next to the corpse of another young woman. In the ritual, she expects her soul will move to the body of the dead woman. Instead, the dead woman comes to life with the soul of Breeze. That glitch leads to humorous complications as well insights into the ironies of everyday life and love.

Breeze and Richard's three previous novels (Parallel Lives, Beyond the 4th Door, and Nevermind) can be read in any order. They are independent stories, with overlapping themes and styles. Each novel presents a different view of reality, a different way of trying to understand the mysteries of life.

A WWII romance veers off into an alternate reality and then another and another.

5 out of 5 stars
"Richard Seltzer takes us on another spellbinding journey into an alterante reality that defies our familiar perception of space and time. Nevermind is a story with a backdrop that seems grounded on the surface, but turns into a flight of mind-bending twists."

Without knowing why or how, two college students wake up 50 years older than they were when they went to sleep and with no memory of what has happened in between.
The first door is birth. The second is death. Finally, Frank and Marge go through the fourth door.

"Richard Seltzer's vast imagination knows no bounds...
Think Thomas Wolfe. Think The Razor's Edge by Maugham.
...the main character...talented, energetic, charismatic... genre-defying Be prepared for a wild ride."
"Richard Seltzer is a master of educating us to the possibilities of existence once we set our mind free and open the door to the unknown."

The story, which begins in an assisted-living facity in New Hampshire, leads to 18th century Boston and London, where there's unfinished business that residents, through mirror selves, must take care of.

"Ingeniously woven trip through space and time"

blog interview

Works by and about historical figures who are characters in Parallel Lives.

Mercy Otis Warren, historian and playwright

The Rise, Progress and Termination of the American Revolution

The original 3-volume work is 1317 pages long. Mercy wrote early drafts of this work near the time of the events described, and completed the work about four years before it appeared in 1805. Mercy wrote in the third person even when dealing with events involving her immediate family. James Otis (early advocate of the rights of the colonies) was her brother, James Warren (speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives) was her husband, and Winslow Warren (would-be diplomat) was her son.
Other works by Mercy Otis Warren

Gentleman Johnny Burgoyne, general and playwright


Postings at -- stories, essays, poems, and jokes.





essays from Why Knot?

other essays

lizard of oz

wrting advice

Other published works:

The Barracks (from Saint Smith and Other Stories), novella, 11K words. Published online at  Was also published online at Untold Tales Publishing which is now defunct.

The Barracks
 takes place during basic training at Fort Polk, LA, in the summer of 1970, during the Viet Nam War. The overwhelming majority of the trainees are reservists. All white, in a matter of weeks, they'll return home and go about their usual lives, unless something unexpected goes wrong. Four black trainees in the same platoon face immediate assignment to Viet Nam, so they have been deliberately failing the course, being "recycled," over and over again. Tensions of the war (which none of them support) and race relations (which the reservists never faced before) come to a head over an incident that in and of itself seems to have little significance but symbolically looms large.

    based on that novella  The Barracks, a three-act stage play (1989) and Spit and Polish, a full-length screen play (2001)

  The Gentle Inquisitor and Other Stories, published at Untold Tales Publishing, (a company that is no longer in business)
These eight ironic stories deal with serious questions in unique and playful ways. They'll make you smile and wonder and prompt you to think about human nature and the meaning of life from new perspectives.

  The AltaVista Search Revolution:How to Find Anything on the Internet, Osborne/McGraw-Hill, 1997 and 1998, with Eric J. Ray and Deborah S. Ray
     The first consumer book about search engines. (AltaVista was the forerunner of Google.)
Winner of the "Distinguished Technical Communication Award," the highest award given by the Society for Technical Communication Publications.    
     2 editions, Hebrew and Japanese translations. Braille version published by National Braille Press    
     "This complete guide to using the AltaVista web searching/indexing system will be indispensable to both librarians and patrons.... Get one copy to circulate, nail one down in the computer lab, and pass one around the reference desk."
-- Library Journal

  Ethiopia Through Russian Eyes by Alexander Bulatovich, translation by Richard Seltzer (Red Sea/Africa World Press, 2000)      at Kobo     at Nook    at Apple
         "...the most important book on the history of eastern Africa to have been published for a century...."   Old Africa (complete review)
This is a unique and detailed first-hand account of Ethiopia in 1896-98 includes 78 photographs taken in Ethiopia at the time. It recounts the adventures and observations of a Russian officer with remarkable understanding for the many varied people who lived there and keen insight into their destiny. Originally published in 1900.  This edition includes the illustrations, diagrams and maps of the original edition.

My Third Journey to Ethiopia, 1899-1900 by Alexander Bulatovich, translation by Richard Seltzer
Assembled from previously unpublished items in the Russian archives, this is a lively and detailed account of Bulatovich's travels, at the behest of Ethiopian Emperor Meneik II, in the northwestern border regions of the country, at a time when war with England seemed imminent. Bulatovich provides an insightful assessment of England's likely moves and what Menelik could do to block them, even including an invasion of the Sudan. Once again he provides previously unknown details about a critical time in Ethiopia's history. There's also a brief account of Bulatovich's fourth journey to Ethiopia in 1911, at which time he was a Russian Orthodox monk and sought to found a monastery at a lake to the south of Addis Ababa. This is a companion to Ethiopia Through Russian Eyes.

  The Lizard of Oz, fantasy, 1974, revised and expanded 2018  at Kobo  at Nook query message for second edition     at Apple      at Nook      at Kobo
"An intriguing and very entertaining little novel" Library Journal
     "Carroll and Tolkien have a new companion"
     "A work so saturated that the mind is both stoned with pleasure and alive with wonder"
Lancaster Independent Press
     "A commentary on our times done delightfully" Philadelphia Bulletin
     "A gallery of figments of contemporary culture that could take its place on the library shelf of memory along with classic figures of children's fiction" Valley  Advocate
When an elementary class sets out on a quest to save the world from disenchantment, their adventures reveal paradoxes of the human mind and ways of awakening the magic within us.

  Now and Then and Other Tales from Ome, children's stories, 1976    at Kobo     at Nook     at Apple
Boston Globe -- "A highly original collection of short stories -- sometimes humorous, sometimes profound."
Philadelphia Daily News -- "Seltzer has produced four charming stories for, he suggests, children around the age of nine. Adults will find the book has its appeal too: My favorite story is the one about the little princess who had a nice mother and was very happy and therefore very unhappy because how could Prince Charming come and rescue her if there was nothing to rescue her from?"

  The Name of Hero, historical novel, Tarcher/Houghton Mifflin, 1981    at Kobo     at Nook     at Apple
     translation of this novel into Russian 
    sources and related documents
An historical novel based on the life of Alexander Bulatovich, a Russian who was an explorer in Ethiopia, a cavalry officer during Russia's conquest of Manchuria in 1900, and later, as a monk at Mount Athos, led a group of "heretics" who challenged the hierarchy of the Russian Orthodox Church, asserting the divinity of the Name of God. (Originally published by Tarcher/Houghton Mifflin.) Set in early 20th century Manchuria, the Boxer Rebellion raging throughout the country, the Name of Hero involves readers in the strange career of Alexander Xavierevich Bulatovich of His Majesty's Life Guard Hussar Regiment. Blending fact, fiction, and adventure, this novel tells turbulent events sparked by religion and railroads, and the tension between facts and faith.

   Saint Smith and Other Stories, 2011    at Kobo    at Nook     at Apple
This book consists of two novellas and six short stories. "Saint Smith" focuses on Charlie, a would-be experimental film maker, Sarah his traditional Bible-believing mother, and Irene the clever ironic uninhibited German woman he marries. "The Barracks" takes place  in basic training at Fort Polk, Louisiana, at the time of the Viet Nam War. The six stories deal with puzzles of human nature and the meaning of life.

  MGMT MEMO: Management Lessons from DEC, 2018    at Apple    at Nook    

  Snapshots of DEC, 2018     at Apple     at Nook

 Web Business Boot Camp Hands-on Internet lessons for manager, entrepreneurs, and professionals, Wiley, 2002     at Apple     at Nook     at Kobo

First published in 2002.  The specific examples are dated, because business on the Internet changes rapidly.  But the underlying principles and lessons hold true.  "You're in basic training for the battle of your life. Your mission is to keep your company alive and to help it move forward quickly in unfamiliar territory.  You must master the tools and techniques needed to serve customers and beat the competition into he strange and potentially hostile online business environment. This no-nonsense, tip-driven guide targets key activities that anyone can perform to truly achieve online business success.  Internet marketing pioneer Richard Seltzer gets managers out of the boardroom and into the trenches for crucial hands-on Web experience -- which provides insight into how to win on the e-commerce battlefield.  He also helps entrepreneurs develop a viable business model without depending on high-priced design services and consultants, as well as gives technology-oriented professionals a broad business perspective for tackling new online responsibilities."
- Take Charge of Your Web Site, MightyWords, 2001

  Shop Online the Lazy Way (Macmillan, 1999. Braille edition published by National Braille Press)    at Nook    at Google Play    at Apple  

  The Social Web: How to build successful personal or business Web sites, 1998)     at Apple  

This pioneering book, first published in 1997, details the process to empower businesses and individuals to build websites based on common interests and social interaction. It provides insights that are as relevant now as they were when the book was written.
  The Way of the Web Lessons from the Internet. How to adapt to the new business environment, 1995)    at Kobo     at Apple

The internet emerged and evolved so rapidly, that companies were faced with the need to adapt to a new environment.This early book focuses upon building communities on the Internet. It further provides information on establishing identity, motivation to succeed, and community. First published in 1995, many of the principals explained here still ring true.

  Dryden's Exemplary Drama, senior thesis at Yale (1969)    at Apple     at Google Play     at Nook

 Death of the Federalist Party, paper written in high school, in 1963.   at Apple     at Google Play

  Dark Woods and Other Poems

  Without a Myth and Five Other Plays     at Apple   at Nook


- The Gentle Inquisitor (from Saint Smith and Other Stories)

- The Choice (from Saint Smith and Other Stories)

- Creation Story (from Saint Smith and Other Stories)

- Chiang ti Tales (from Saint Smith and Other Stories)

- The Mirror (from Saint Smith and Other Stories) (American Bystander #13, 2019

- The Barracks (from Saint Smith and Other Stories), novella, 11K words also published at Untold Tales Publishing

    based on that novella  The Barracks, a three-act stage play (1989) and Spit and Polish, a full-length screen play (2001)

- Now and Then (from Now and Then and Other Tales from Ome)

- Revolution  (at Glossy News Satire, 2019)

- Finnegan Died  (at Glossy News Satire, 2019)

- Size Matters   (at Glossy News Satire, 2019)

- Hundreds and Hundreds of Gerbils

- Julie's Book: The Little Princess (from Now and Then and Other Tales from Ome)

- Mary Jane's Book: The Book of Animals (from Now and Then and Other Tales from Ome)

- The Little Oops Named Ker Plop (from Now and Then and Other Tales from Ome)

- Hands

- Tiger in the Intercom

- Yanni, to be published April 2021 online at


Laugh and Let Laugh, word play, over 2300 short jokes

- Six-Word Stories, prompted by images post on Twitter to AgathaChocolates (daily, starting February 13, 2020)

- Trumpisms (Trump jokes at Glossy News Satire, 2019)  one of the top 10 most popular articles of the year (#6)

- Trumpisms 2.0 (Trump jokes at Glossy News Satire. 2019)

- Trumpisms 3.0 (Trump jokes at Glossy News Satire, 2019)

- Trumpisms 4.0 (Trump jokes at Glossy News Satire, 2020)

- Trumpisms 5.0 (Trump jokes at Glossy News Satire, 2020)

- Trumpisms 6.0 (Trump jokes at Glossy News Satire, 2020)

- Trumpisms 7.0 (Trump jokes at Glossy News Satire, 2020)

- Tumpisms 8.0 (Trump jokes at Glossy News Satire, 2020)

- Trumpisms 9.0 (Trump jokes at Glossy News Satire, 2020)

- Trumpisms 10.0 (Trump jokes at Glossy News Satire, 2020)

- Trumpisms 11.0 (Trump jokes at Glossy News Satire, 2020)

- Trumpisms 12.0 (Trump jokes at Glossy News Satire, 2020)


  Without a Myth and Five Other Plays     at Apple   at Google Play   at Nook

- Without a Myth, three-act play (1971)

- Heel, Hitler, ten-minute play (2015)

- The Barracks, a three-act stage play (1989)

- Rights Crossing, a two-act historical play, set in the American Revolution (1976)

- Mercy, a two-act historical comedy, set in the American Revolution,  based on the lives of Mercy Otis Warren and General Johnny Burgoyne. (1975)

- Heel, Hitler, ten-minute play (2015)

- The Lizard of Oz, children's play (1976)


- The Lizard of Oz radio script,
episode 1, episode 2, episode 3

- Spit and Polish, a full-length screen play (2001)

- Traffic Jam, a short screen play (1972)

-  Family on Demand, first episode of proposed sitcom, co-written with Ethel Kaiden (2004)


- From Russia and Ethiopia to the Internet (Wesleyan College) article
- Surviving as a Small Business in the Age of Google: Generate Search-engine Traffic (NEXPO, Washington, DC)  article
- The Future of Business on the Internet (Lewiston, Maine)  script
- Increase Traffic on the Internet Without Advertising (IQPC Conference, San Francisco, CA)  article
- Corporate-wide Knowledge Management  (ExpoManagement 98, Buenos Aires, Argentina)  article
- Business Opportunities on the Internet (Comdex, Buenos Aires, Argentina)  script
- The Social Web: from Hyper-links to People-links  (Web Week 97, Oak Ridge National Labs, Oak Ridge, TN)  book
- Basics of Effective Web Sites: How to Succeed When the Rules of the Game Change (Boston)  book
- Building Communities on the Internet (Internet Expo/Email World, Boston, New Orleans)  article


- Current thoughts on all topics

- Internet Present & Past

- Internet History

- Internet Strategy and Marketing

- EBay and Other Online Auctions

- Internet Search

- Community and Collaboration

- Web Site Design

- Working At Home

- Publishing and Ebooks

- Glimpses (essays toward a personal philosophy)

My book reviews


- 70 Online Dates - Learning to Date at 68

- Asthma in Timisoara: A Glimpse at the Romanian Medical System

- Romantic Romania?

- Training, Not Censorship: The Need for Cyber-Street-Smarts

- Global Competition and the Long Road to General Prosperity (1992)

- Thoughts on Reading and Writing

- The Bugle Boy

- Why Bother to Save Halloween?

- The Nostalgia of Tomorrowland

- Adventures in Small Press Publishing: the Lizard of Oz

- From Russia to Ethiopia to the Internet

- The Serge Solovieff Mystery - A World War I Variant of the Spanish Prisoner and Nigerian Scams

- Making sense of the myths behind Greek tragedy, in particular the mythos of Pelops/Atreus/Agamemnon, grad school paper (1970)

- Filial Respect in Confucius and Socrates and the Divergence of Western and Chinese Philosophic Traditions, paper written while an undergraduate at Yale, May 1967

- Another Look at Moliere's l'Avare (The Miser), paper written while a student at Brentwood School in Brentwood, Essex, England, May, 1965.


- The Story of the Trojan War in Unintentionally Humorous Verse doggerel written in the sixth grade (age 11)

- Hi-Q or Peg Solitarie, a solution to the game solved and recorded in the third grade (age 8)

- Stories Written in the Second Grade


Echoes from the Attic, novel, co-written with Ethel Kaiden,


- The Bard of Eastport, novel
- We Met in Ithaca, novel
- Untrammeled Thoughts. There Is No Box, essays
- Laugh and Let Laugh, jokes  privacy statement