All posts by Tom


Horton the Housecat

I once wrote an epic poem whose protagonist was one of my mother’s cats. To allay my boredom during downtime at work I began to pair parts of the poem with thumbnail sketches. The project was longer than a comic strip but shorter than a graphic novel. I had a friend at the time who was literary agent and she told me that if I submitted the work to her as a manuscript that she would try to sell it to a publisher as a children’s book.

Before events ever got that far, I had to change the name of the cat: Horton was already taken by an elephant. Then, I was told the cat had to be fat. Then, I was told Horton’s family needed a father. Then, I had to change the text from metered, rhyming poetry to prose. Then, I had to hand over the illustration duties to somebody who had a track record as a commercial artist. Then, I no longer recognized the product. After half a dozen editors pronounced the product dead on arrival, it did not bother me in the slightest when the agent pulled the plug on the project. I no longer viewed the book as being my own.


It was not until I found the book on a cart being given away by my local library to make room for new titles that I even knew there was such a thing as The New York Times Book of Houseplants.  The copyright indicates a publication date of 1973. Its author Joan Lee Faust was, inter alia, the Garden Editor at the Times. The Garden Editor! What a concept.

The description in the book for the snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata) called the plant “a favorite of yesteryear” even back in the nineteen-seventies. I keep several pots full of them. The text indicates that: “[m]ature plants in sunny rooms often send up spikes of white blooms.”  This spring, mine did; it was awesome.



Chris Ripley & Thomas Seidman, Cape Cod 1995

I would like to take this opportunity to thank my friend Mr. Christopher Ripley for purchasing the domain name, setting me up with WordPress, and encouraging me to expand my presence on the World Wide Web. His book–Chris Ripley’s Online Marketing 101: No-Nonsense Guide To Marketing Your Business Online–has encouraged me in pursuing my own literary pursuits and is a fine primer for understanding the craft and nuances of marketing in the Internet age.

Chris Ripley’s Online Marketing 101 (cover page)

Chris Ripley’s Online Marketing 101 (inside cover)