I currently write a column each Tuesday for the DeKalb
Daily Chronicle. The column will also appear on this website
each week and be added to the archives.
The Articles started December 2007.
If you've missed any please follow the links on the dates
to catch up.
Home | Columns |
Photos | Books
| Biography | Mental
Health | Links
Prolific writer published often over the years
By Barry Schrader.................................December
You could call Mil Misic an original she has compiled
a booklet of her writings and calls it origiMILS.
I first came across Misic's nostalgic and sometimes
pointed writings in the letters column of the Chicago Tribune
earlier this year, then also found some contributions on the
Daily Chronicle editorial page as well. The day after I interviewed
her she had two letters published on different topics
one in the Tribune and the other in the Chronicle.
was fascinated by the myriad of topics and the frequency with
which Misic's writing appeared in the Chicago paper, so I wanted
to find out more about her. She readily shared her compilation
of published material assembled in a bound notebook that dates
back to 1982 when she contributed regularly to a feature called
The Observer, which invited readers to submit original essays
on any topic.
Mil Misic's writing topics range from favorite holiday
remembrances to the little annoyances in life. (Schrader Photo)
Over the years, Misic said she probably has had 90 or 95 percent
of her submissions published in the Tribune and a smattering
in other publications.
Misic got her first taste
of newspapering at age 14, when she landed a part-time job at
a weekly newspaper in a small Minnesota town folding papers by
hand after they came off the press. Next she helped label them
with something called an Addressograph, before taking the 1,500
copies to the post office the following morning before school.
The weekly publisher also had her collect ads from local businesses,
and if they didnt have an ad that week, she would ask them
for news items, which she wrote down and carried back to the
A child of the Depression, Misic never
got to college until middle age, so she was not able to practice
her passion for writing professionally. But besides raising a
family, she worked as an executive secretary for many years.
It was at one of those early jobs where she met her husband Don,
who was a salesman, and they have been married 51 years. He later
joined the staff of Harper College and became Director of Business
Services, as well as a facilities planner for 20 years. During
that time, Mil Misic did take some courses in creative writing
and journalism. Their two grown children, Christy and Mark, are
college graduates and work at Northern Illinois University, the
main reason Mil and her husband landed in DeKalb after retirement.
Mil (short for Mildred) has a writing style similar
to Erma Bombeck, the late humor columnist, and she turns out
to be an admirer of Bombecks columns and books. Misic also
is a fan of Tom Brokaws and David Brinkleys writings,
but her all-time favorite is the late Mike Royko, the legendary
Chicago newspaper columnist. She says he could spin a yarn like
nobody else. She recalls one college class where they got to
interview Royko in a conference call by phone, and the instructor
declared her resulting story was the best he had read.
is one of an untold number of people who have written many short
stories over the years but never got published. It is probably
because she aimed too high and submitted manuscripts only to
major circulation magazines like Atlantic Monthly.
topics range from favorite holiday remembrances to the little
annoyances in life. A recent letter talks about nearly being
run over, twice, by shopping carts driven by people on their
cell phones. But she tries to avoid controversial topics.
Criticism comes easy. Any fool can knock a
barn door down, but it takes a real craftsman to build one,
Mil admits to one addiction that
affects many of us.
Its e-mail. When
I am within earshot and hear a pling on my computer
that announces a new message, I am on it as fast as a blackbird
on road kill, she declared.
Misic is writing her memoirs, mostly concentrating on her early
life before marriage, but I think a collection of her writings
and letters would sell just as well. I surely would buy a copy,
but only if autographed, of course.
The columnist can be reached via email at :
or by snailmail at:
PO Box 851
DeKalb, Ill 60115