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How a Wooden Doll Unexpectedly Joined The Empty Lot Next Door

How a Wooden Doll Unexpectedly Joined The Empty Lot Next Door

SPOILER ALERT: If you’re trying to avoid spoilers, it’s advisable not to read further until you’ve finished reading The Empty Lot Next Door. Reading this journal entry may reveal important plot details you’d rather discover alone.

 

Imagine this: a terrifying scene with Candle Face, the villain from my memoir The Empty Lot Next Door, and me surrounded by a disorderly array of toys on my bed, including a fake Hot Wheels car and a GI Joe figurine. Unbeknownst to me, a little wooden doll was about to make a surprise entry!


In Chapter 8, Candle Face quietly crept into my room in the dead of night, seized a fake Hot Wheels car and a GI Joe figurine from the floor, and smashed them together to create a loud crash. Candle Face symbolically reenacted a friend’s death that occurred just the day before.


My illustrator, a highly skilled artist from India, presented a unique challenge – he wasn’t familiar with GI Joe figurines, which were critical to my original scene. Consequently, his first drawing featured a wooden doll, which, although adorable, wasn’t what I had described in my manuscript. This misalignment highlighted intriguing challenges and opportunities that can arise when two cultures merge in a creative endeavor.


To resolve this issue, I sent photos of GI Joe figurines; thinking visuals might help my illustrator mimic them. However, understanding and reproducing a cultural icon without having a cultural context or personal memories is difficult. Despite his best attempts, the GI Joe figures in his drawings didn’t quite match what I had in mind. Interestingly, the wooden doll appeared in every new sketch, as if quietly insisting to be included.


Confronted with strictly adhering to the actual scene or adapting to the developing situation, I rewrote the scene, creating a spot where the wooden doll could rightfully exist alongside Candle Face and me.


An unexpectedly beautiful thing occurred: this unplanned wooden doll, initially a symbol of miscommunication and annoyance, seamlessly found its place in the frightful disarray on the bed, adding an unanticipated yet fitting twist to the story.


Now, my story has gained an unexpected layer, prompting readers to recognize and value the sometimes unpredictable journey of creative projects. Candle Face, myself, and our new wooden companion are captured in a moment of creepy connection, a scene shaped by the hands of an artist from afar.


In the end, even though the wooden doll wasn’t a part of my childhood memories, it has found its place in my story, imparting a valuable lesson. Sometimes, embracing unpredictability and allowing stories to unfold their own way can create a rich, complex story that is even better than the original plan.


Thus, the wooden doll stayed in the second edition, serving as a reminder to all that wonderful outcomes can emerge when we allow different cultures and unforeseen events to sculpt and enrich our stories.

 

Key To Understanding

To ensure readers grasp the full context and significance of this article, it’s crucial to be familiar with Arthur Mills’ award-winning memoir The Empty Lot Next Door, inspired by actual ghostly events in Austin, TX. The book provides essential background information, and without it, the nuances and depth of this article might not be fully appreciated. Therefore, reading The Empty Lot Next Door is highly recommended for a more enriched and coherent understanding of this article’s content and implications.


To purchase The Empty Lot Next Door, please visit Amazon


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