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Barry Schrader
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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.

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Prolific writer published often over the years

By Barry Schrader.................................December 22, 2009

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.
I 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 didn’t have an ad that week, she would ask them for news items, which she wrote down and carried back to the paper.
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 Bombeck’s columns and books. Misic also is a fan of Tom Brokaw’s and David Brinkley’s 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.
Misic 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.
Misic's 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,” she quipped.
Mil admits to one addiction that affects many of us.
“It’s 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.

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The columnist can be reached via email at :

barry815sbcglobal.net

or by snailmail at:

Barry Schrader
PO Box 851
DeKalb, Ill 60115