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One of the benefits of attending a low-residency program is that people can study from all over the world without having to leave their lives. We were scattered around the globe when we first came together at VCFA, and we still are. Staying connected across space is our superpower. We Quirk & Quillers were so inspired by Larissa’s Shanghai that we decided to open a little window into each of our spaces.

Mine is the RP, Rogers Park, Chicago, less glamorous than the OC but way more entertaining. We’re on the far north side up in here. It’s a neighborhood of many contrasts. On the one hand, the RP has got the prettiest, least-crowded, most dog-friendly beaches in Chicago.

(Pic by Mike Tutaj)

On the other hand, parts of the RP have so many stray Cheetos bags flying around that one dude made a blog about them. A whole blog. Of Cheetos.

On any given day along the lake, you will find wealthy homeowners, giddy Loyola students, disaffected youths, little kids on bikes, a mess of sexual predators (yes, I checked the database), lots of friendly dogs, and several crazy people.

Summer is the angry season when you’re more likely to hear gunshots. Winter is the quiet-but-deadly season when you’re more likely to get buried alive, or, you know, die of a vitamin D deficiency.

Spring and fall are short, but sheer bliss.

Remy Frankenstein and I share a little one bedroom right by the lake, and we play outside every day. We love that the police have better things to do than tell us to put on a leash. Or to stop shooting off fireworks. At children.

We’re grateful to the lady in the purple silk floral pajamas who crosses against the light and yells at the cars like they’re her family because she’s one small part of what makes our little spot by the lake an affordable home.