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Sounds like the solenoid mounted on the shifter. You have to replace the shifter to replace the solenoid. I would check the resistance of the solenoid. Usually 30 to 40 ohms. check the plug to it(Corrrosion) and the resistance of the wires from the brake switch to the solenoid(5 ohms or less). Those shifters are cheap. Could be the brake switch also. Next time it doesn't work, See if the brake lights come on.
There may be some sort of electrical contact or switch that is linked to the starter so that you cannot start the car unless its in park. I would suggest that this switch has accidentally been disconnected or may not be in the right position to switch on.. If you have a look at the shifter mechanism, there should be a switch near / next to the shifter in the park position. Check the mounting and the wiring to it.
check to see if your brake lights work. No? check your brake light fuse. OK? change your brake light switch. Your brake light switch powers the brake / shifter interlock. There is usually a way to bypass the interlock- check your owners manual for bypass button location ( its usually next to the shifter)
sounds like you may have a bad safety switch on your shifter, if you have intermittent problems with it starting and it changes with movement of the shifter, it's probably the safety switch. The next time it doesn't start, shift to neutral and try it, if it starts, its the switch. The switch is designed to keep the engine from starting if it's in gear, but it will let you start in neutral and park.