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Health scare inspires Bemidji painter to turn to writing

A health scare about 12 years ago made Marley Kaul question his own mortality. Kaul wondered what would be remembered of him, and what would his daughter, who was pregnant at the time, end up telling his future grandchild. So he turned to writing...

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Marley Kaul visits with friend, Dianne Paulsen (left) at Monday night's book signing at the North Dakota Museum of Art. Jesse Trelstad/Grand Forks Herald.

A health scare about 12 years ago made Marley Kaul question his own mortality.

Kaul wondered what would be remembered of him, and what would his daughter, who was pregnant at the time, end up telling his future grandchild.

So he turned to writing letters to help tell his story.

Kaul, a native of Bemidji, was on hand Monday at the North Dakota Museum of Art to sign copies of his book and share stories with visitors.

His book, titled "Letters," is made up of letters he planned on sharing with granddaughter Isabella. The book features 77 full-page egg tempera paintings, each accompanied by a letter to his grandchild. They explore his artistic process and his influences.

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"I wanted to leave her with something, no matter what happened," Kaul said.

Kaul ended up keeping the letters a surprise from his granddaughter until the book was released

"She was very surprised," Kaul said. "And I think she really enjoyed it."

Along with Kaul at the museum was author Kristin Eggerling, who was signing copies of her book "Sigurd Olson: The Breath of the Wilderness." The children's book focuses on Olson, who was an environmentalist, and tells the story of his fight to protect the wilderness.

"It's a really inspiring story for children," Eggerling said. "It teaches them that you can stand up for what you believe in even through tremendous adversity."

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Marley Kaul autographs a book on Monday night at the North Dakota Museum of Art. Jesse Trelstad/Grand Forks Herald.

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