This is the first post from the archives of the eclectic blog of writer Marilyn Armstrong. I selected it as it gives some background to the title of both her blog and her book. As writers we are inspired by experiences, images, people, emotions and the list goes on. I thought this was very special.
The 12-Foot Teepee (2012) by Marilyn Armstrong
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.
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.
My life has moved on considerably since then but writing it was a turning point in my life.
©Images Marilyn Armstrong 2012
Do have a special inspiration behind your own writing that you can share with us?
About Marilyn Armstrong
I’m a blogging anarchist, a blogger without goals. A writer, photographer. I don’t have a primary focus nor do I want one. I have a lot of interests and write about whatever catches my attention or is most on my mind. Or in the news.
I’m a bit of a geek and I love my high-tech toys. I enjoy writing about computers and other high tech devices. Especially cameras!
Serendipity is about everything. What I think about. Read. Big and little stuff in my world. It’s what I hope you’ll like to read about. Think about. Laugh about. I will show you pictures of my home, my valley. I will do my best to capture the seasons and how sunlight filters through trees.
About the book
Fighting the of demons of an abusive childhood and having given up on traditional paths to personal salvation, Maggie decides to find her own path … by building a teepee in her back yard. It’s a peculiar route, but her goal is simple: offload the cargo of her past and move into a future, sans luggage. Armed with a draw knife and a sense of humor, she peels poles and paints canvas until winter passes and she is free.
One of the reviews for the book
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book. I’ve been following Marilyn Armstrong’s blog “Serendipity” for a couple of years and figured any book written by her would be a winner. I wasn’t wrong. Admittedly, this book is hard to read in spots because it deals with Marilyn’s long-term struggle to exorcise the demons of her childhood and young adulthood. Throughout the book, she tries to forgive her father, and at times her mother, for the abuse she and her brother suffered. After surviving such a childhood, she was then beset by ill health. Many others would have simply given up at that point, but Marilyn fought her battles.
Years later, she decided to build a teepee so that her granddaughter could have a private place, but that teepee became Marilyn’s temple instead. I found myself rooting for her at each step of the construction of the teepee, which had become Marilyn’s symbol for inner peace. Marilyn also deals with her decision to leave the Jewish faith and convert to Christianity, a heavy subject indeed, but one she handles beautifully. I would definitely recommend this book – and should any producers be reading this review, can also envision it as a thought-provoking screenplay.
Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/12-Foot-Teepee-Marilyn-Armstrong-ebook/dp/B008AA3BHQ
Find more reviews on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21228963-the-12-foot-teepee
Connect to Marilyn
My thanks to Marilyn for allowing me access to her archives and I hope that you will head over to explore them further. Sally