New voices join pool of contributing columnists

Today I have the privilege of introducing you to our new contributing columnists.

We have quite a big group this year, so I will keep my opening comments brief. Before I jump in, however, I want to express our gratitude to the writers whose terms have ended: Jack Fredrickson, Gabriela Garcia, Susan O'Byrne, Amy McCauley, Beth Smits, Alegra Waverly and Carol Wittemann. They have made me laugh, made me think and occasionally brought a tear to my eye with their columns over the last year or two. It has been a joy to edit their work.

While these columnists have left big shoes to fill, we have four new and two returning writers this year whom I believe are up to the challenge.

Bill Barre is the most tenured resident of the group, having lived here for more than 31 years. He and his wife of 38 years have two boys ages 35 and 32.

In addition to babysitting his granddaughter once or twice a week, he keeps busy writing. Last year he wrote and published a children's picture book on Amazon and plans to publish two more next year. He also published a mystery novel on Amazon and has penned four screenplays. Finally, he's working on an advertising-portfolio-creation site to help "wannabe" copywriters and art directors. Like many, he's found some extra time on his hands over the past 18 months.

"When the pandemic hit, out of sheer boredom, I wrote several humorous (hopefully!) essays that I hope will brighten readers' days," he said.

Lisa Seplak has lived in Hinsdale with her family for 20 years. She and her husband of 25 years have a son in college and a dog named Sasha. She has volunteered at various places around town, including her son's school, and worked part-time at Grace Preschool.

Her reason for wanting to be a columnist is simple. She loves to write.

"I wrote poetry as child, worked on my high school newspaper, majored in communications/journalism in college and now I take classes and write with Ariel Gore and the Wayward Writers," she said.

Lex Silberberg and her husband have lived in Hinsdale for five years and are raising two young boys. You can read more about her life in her inaugural column, which appears on Page 11 of this issue. She said she's anxious to get back to an activity she enjoys.

"Writing used to be a huge part of my life, but for the last few years, it has been relegated to emails, texts and thank you notes," she said. "Looking forward to shaking off the rust and hoping my point of view resonates with a variety of readers."

Isabella Terry is our student columnist this year. She is a senior at Hinsdale Central High School, where she is a member of the cross country team (and, coincidentally, our athlete profile for this week's issue), Business Professionals of America and the Math Team. She also serves as a peer leader. She's lived in Hinsdale all 17 years of her life, she said, with her parents and two older brothers, who are in college now. She also loves reading and sushi.

"Writing has always been my favorite activity at school and a passion of mine," she wrote in her application. "I love that powerful and interesting stories can be told in only hundreds of words."

John Bourjaily is picking up the pen again after a decade-long break. A broker at @properties, he's a 25-year resident. He and his wife of 30 years have three daughters ages 20, 22 and 26. John has a great sense of humor and views life's happenings through that lens.

"I love making people smile, and I've found that I have a knack for getting an occasional chuckle out of people with my writing," he said about returning as a columnist. "I try not to concern myself about whether they're actually laughing with me or at me."

We're laughing with you, John.

Eight-year resident Mistie Lucht is returning after a six-year hiatus. The mom of three girls ages 9, 12 and 14 has her own personal training business, Fit Force, and a small children's business, Wiggle: Tooth Fairy Registry, with her first children's book coming out later this year. She also just started a new job and recently returned to school to earn her master's in marketing at DePaul's Kellstadt School of Business. On the volunteer front, she is co-leading the Hinsdale Junior Woman's Club Health Committee and is a former volunteer with the Hinsdale Humane Society.

Clearly she wanted to come back as a columnist because she didn't have enough to do.

"I was a columnist when I first moved here, and now, more 'seasoned' in Hinsdale, I am excited to share more about my experiences," Lucht said. "My outlook on life has changed and improved, and I hope that comes across in the themes of my writing."

Bret Conway and Kelly Abate Kallas, you will be happy to know, still have another year on their terms.

I hope you, our readers, will enjoy the work of all these talented writers. I know I always do.

- Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean. Readers can email her at [email protected].

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Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean