The 12-Foot Teepee

Once upon a time, I built a teepee. I painted the door and filled it with things I loved. I made the poles, sanded each by hand, peeling the bark from each 16-foot sapling we had cut in our own woods.

Then I wrote a book about building it, and about life, transformation, and other things, some funny, some sad, some just whatever.

The manuscript for The 12-Foot Teepee took me about 7 months to write, almost as much time to edit, then a few more months to design the cover and the book. Getting it published, well … that’s a whole other story.

In winter.

This was my teepee.

It stood, through all seasons for five years. This summer, the poles could no longer support the canvas, and the canvas itself was mildewed. Its time was over and it came down.

I don’t think there will ever be another. Building it was a rebirth. A physical teepee is nothing but a bit of canvas and sticks, the rest is spirit, love, and hope. I knew it could not last forever, and it lasted as long as any teepee could in this climate … especially since I left it up through the winter … but I miss it and always will. I had some of my best hours in my teepee … the only place in my world where I could always sleep.

My favorite time in the teepee was when the snow was falling and I was cozy by my fire. It was the most peaceful place in my world.

You can find the book on Amazon, both as a paperback and in Kindle format. It is “The 12-Foot Teepee,”  by Marilyn Armstrong. You can read excerpts from it online. Eventually I’ll post some pieces of the book here. Just not tonight.

My life has moved on considerably since then but writing it was a turning point in my life.

Categories: Books, Life, Photography, Writing

Tags: , , , , , ,

9 replies

  1. I never know what to expect from one day to the next from you my new friend! This has to be posted on Awakenings since it relates to history. . .the teepee IS American history! And I absolutely love your story. It is awesome it lasted 5 years! I’ll have to do some thinking on how to post since Awakenings is blogspot and this is WP. It doesn’t have the reblog feature. WP is great and so easy to reblog. I ‘ll compose a lead-in with some background. Then, I could use one of your pictures and part of the script with links to your site. What do you think?

    BTW On catnip today is an impromptu post that initiated from a hybiscus in full bloom this morning. The picture turned out OK but the clarity is not the best. My camera is just a simple little digital with very few features. Ler me know if you like it. . .


    • First of all, it’s a splendid idea. I have some issues with WordPress’s limitations, including that there is only one possible stream for active blogs, so you wind up having a lot of trouble finding your own posts. I had a lot of trouble finding this … and I wrote it, so I ought to know where it is, right? So if you have ideas, I am all ears. Well, not ALL ears, but a lot of ear. My tepee has traveled through many incarnations. I miss it. I’m still a newbie in this world and need all the good advice I can get!!!

      P.S. Fixed your typo, not to worry. Told you, I am the typo queen. Send me picture, I shall fix it and send it back to you. Photoshop is a wonderful thing.


      • AWESOME on all counts! I have photoshop that was provided through my educational work. Could never get it to download. Something about a code:>( Even out techie guru could not get it loaded. Phooey. I will send the pic right away. You are wonderful to do this for me:>)


  2. I just ordered your book from I wanted it in Kindle format so I could keep it on all my media gadgets, an Apple iMac desktop, an Apple iPad(original) and my Amazon Kindle. I’ve become an avid reader again once I retired. I’ve read over 50 books in the 24 months since I last worked. I look forward to reading your epic adventure. 🙂


    • It’s not so epic, so I hope you won’t be disappointed. Took me 3 years to get it into Kindle format because I got locked out of the server. They changed to new servers, but I only had access to the old one and it took me years to get customer support to help get it straightened out!


  3. I have my copy in my book case, and I just might read it again after reading this piece. Well written. You got it, Kid!


    • Thanks Bob. I haven’t read it myself in a quite some time. Now that it’s out on Kindle, I actually bought a copy so I can reread it. Problem is, every time I look at it, all I see are typos! Oy.


  4. The 12 Foot Teepee will always be with us. I know I feel a part of the Teepee itself since I lent a little sweat and muscle to its birth. And, as for the book, I feel a kinship in watching that birth. I’m very proud you stuck with it and did what many of us talk about — but never really do. WRITE the book!!


    • I’m sure it wasn’t easy for you. I don’t think I was much company for that year and some … all I did was write, edit, write, edit, talk about the writing, then write some more. You were a real trooper.


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