Arts Duo combines talents to write "Serendipitous" | CullmanSense

Arts

Duo combines talents to write "Serendipitous"

Gail Crutchfield

Bethany Kerr and Elena Caudle are the artist and writer of "Serendipitous," a book featuring Kerr's pencil sketches paired with the poems written by Caudle. They are taking donations for copies of the books to be given to children at Children's Hospital in Birmingham, at $10 each. The regular price for the book is $15 for those who would like to buy the books for themselves or as a gift. $1 of each sale will go to the American Cancer Society Relay For Life.

CULLMAN - Bethany Kerr and Elena Caudle have known each other for several years. They met by chance when in the same downtown business and Caudle commented on the uniqueness of Kerr’s painted Volkswagen bus, which reminded her of her own vehicle with its attention-getting artwork. 

For the most part they'd been on the periphery of each other’s lives. They worked together on weddings that Caudle planned and Kerr photographed, but in between those times they each focused on their own lives. That was until the day Caudle mentioned how one of Kerr’s sketches reminded her of a poem she once wrote. Caudle then joked she could write more poems or short stories for other sketches, and Kerr took her at her word. 

That led to the pair's publication of "Serendipitous," a book featuring Caudle's poems and Kerr's pencil sketches.  

"Bethany does photography, she's an artist," Caudle said. "She's the one who paints the murals around town. She's a mom. She's amazing. Every time I need someone creative I call her and say, 'Hey, are you up for this?'" 

When Caudle saw one of Kerr's sketches on Facebook, she asked her if she could do a sketch for her sister for Christmas," Caudle said. "I said I've got a poem to go with it." 

That's when joked about writing poems for all of her sketches. Kerr asked Caudle if she was serious and took her up on it when she said yes. 

"And a month and half later we had a book," Kerr said. 

That first poem was about a mischievous duo made up of a duck and a toad who "borrowed" a truck. "It was really cute and whimsical," Kerr said.  

That led to 11 more sketches and poems that include the mismatched pair of the  adventurous Ruby Rat and Winston, a frog who is a bit of a bookworm, but their differences bring them together rather than divide them; the adventures of Billy the Kitten and Travis the armadillo, who amazes people he meets just by being alive; Montague the Magician, who reminds us you can go home again; and more. 

The collaboration after years of knowing each other in other roles was "totally serendipitous," Caudle said. Which is where the name of the book came from. 

"Both of us were at a spot where we need something more uplifting, more fun, something that's not so heavy going on," Caudle said.  

Each shared with the other either a sketch or a poem they'd created and the other either wrote the accompanying story or drew the sketch.  

"What I love about her poems is that she creates a storyline and the background for the character, it's much more than just a simple poem," Kerr said. "Each character has this interesting story and personality."   

Kerr, the mother of 7, is not new to publishing a book. She wrote one in 2010, "Answers in the time of Miscarriage," of which she has personal experience, and another about premature babies in 2015. "I had a friend who had a 1 pound baby and I kind of watched her on Facebook growing up."  

Kerr sketched more than 160 portraits of preemies and gathered stories to go with them, which she compiled in the book, "Precious Infants."  

With "Serendipitous" the pair is giving back by donating books to Children's Hospital and part of the proceeds to the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life. In the beginning, the books were only to be donated to the oncology wing of Children's but has since expanded to include the whole hospital. 

Dubbed the "Miles of Smiles," they hope to have 250 books donated to give to children who will be in the hospital during Christmas. Caudle said they hope to have that number donated by Dec. 10 in order to have the books delivered in time for the holiday. A special sticker will be placed in each book, with the name of that book's donor. Each book for donation to the hospital is $10. The regular price for the book is $15 for those who would like to buy the book for themselves or as a gift. 

To buy a book or donate to the "Miles of Smiles" book drive, contact Caudle at 256-734-9224, elena.y.caudle@if4l@statefarm.com, or drop by the Ted Calvert Agency next to West Elementary School, or visit the Serendipitous Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Serendipitousness. 

 

  • Gail Crutchfield
  • Gail Crutchfield