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 the 16-foot saplings 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, about as much time to edit, then a few more months to design the cover and book. Getting it published, well … that’s another story.

This was my teepee.

It stood, through all seasons, for five years. Through snow and ice, drenching rain, hurricanes and hale, it stayed solidly anchored. This past summer, we realized the poles had rotted through. They could no longer support the canvas. And the canvas itself was mildewed and tears had appeared in various places. Its time was done. We took it down.

You can find the book on Amazon, both as a paperback and in Kindle format. It is The 12-Foot Teepee,  by Marilyn Armstrong.  My life has moved on considerably since then but writing it was a turning point in my life.

And for the years the teepee was mine, it was the one place in the world in which I always felt safe and at peace. I will always miss it. It was also the only space I’ve ever known which was entirely, completely, absolutely mine.

Oasis — A sanctuary is a place you can escape to, to catch your breath and remember who you are. Write about the place you go to when everything is a bit too much.


It wasn’t much of a snow, as New England January snowstorms go, but it was the first time the white stuff had fallen since Thanksgiving. It warmed up and melted off before the day was done, but immediately afterward, the wind came up and the cold roared in.

72-Footsteps - 1st Snow_4

Now, for the first time, it feels like winter. The ground is (thankfully) clear but the wind is icy with a bitter chill.

72-1st Snow_7

The rapid weather changes produced fog to go with the snow, so we had a rare combination of haze and snow. Pretty to look at, but I’m glad we didn’t have to drive in it.


Share Your World – 2015 Week #1

How do you get rid of pesky phone calls from telemarketers?

I hang up. I used to be polite, but I discovered good manners just encourages them. So now, I don’t take blocked calls and if the phone keeps ringing, I press the answer button, then hang up. I don’t give them an opening. Not telemarketers, not survey takers. Not worthy causes. Most of the causes are scams. The survey takers are just trying to collect enough personal information to use you in a salable database.

I don’t buy anything from strangers on the telephone. I have had some hard, expensive lessons and I err on the side of caution.

What are you a “natural” at doing?

Writing. Also casual portraits and “postcard” pictures. Other kinds of photography, I have to work at. A macro lens would go a long way towards making ultra-closeups come out sharper.

painted daisies bouquet

How often do you get a haircut?

I used to get a haircut every few months, but instead of getting trimmed, I got mangled. I got tired of hairdressers who won’t listen or don’t seem to be able to grasp the concept of “a light trim, just the ends.” Finally, I developed an actual fear of haircuts and hair dressers. After my hair started getting long, I started trimming the ends myself. Now, I’m not even doing that. It just grows.

selfie with loose hair analog

I don’t remember the last time I got a professional cut. It was more than a year ago. I suppose I’ll eventually have to get it done, but for now, letting it grow and be healthy works for me.

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “fun”?

Friends. Laughter. Roller coasters. Carousels. Boats. Life!