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The Empty Lot Next Door: Who or What Was Griffin

The Empty Lot Next Door: Who or What Was Griffin

SPOILER ALERT: This article contains insights about major characters and their roles in The Empty Lot Next Door. If you’re trying to avoid spoilers, it’s advisable not to read further until you’ve finished the book. Reading this article may reveal important plot details you’d rather discover alone.


In 2010, The Empty Lot Next Door debuted to favorable reviews on Amazon and quickly received awards. Despite its success, not all elements of the book were embraced warmly. The main point of contention? A character named Griffin. Many readers critiqued Griffin’s stories for their overly lengthy and childish nature, noting that they constituted about 30 pages of the 300 total pages of The Empty Lot Next Door. Others didn’t grasp Griffin’s importance to the story, leading me to a challenging task in the second edition: to decrease his presence while simultaneously strengthening his meaning. I took this feedback to heart, yet I couldn’t overlook Griffin’s pivotal role in the story.

Griffin wasn’t just any character; he was a figment of my brother Ricky’s vivid imagination: a hybrid of a boy and a lion. Ricky’s stories about Griffin captivated the neighborhood children in our treehouse, nestled in the empty lot next door to our house. These stories, enchanting by day and spooky by night, became Ricky’s solace from the loneliness and upheavals of childhood and a shield against neighborhood bullies. According to ancient myths, Griffins are guardians, and to Ricky, Griffin fulfilled this role. This duality of Griffin’s existence, hovering between reality and fantasy, forms the book’s heart.

Returning to Texas after retiring from the military, I sat out to refine The Empty Lot Next Door. The intention was to craft a second edition that transitioned from the young adult genre to a story anchored in reality, aiming to reflect what truly happened more accurately and align with the true horror elements often missing in young adult books. Nevertheless, Griffin’s essence remained untouched, as integral as the presence of Ricky, myself, or Candle Face. Altering this would risk losing the soul of the story.

The revised edition introduces significant changes. While maintaining Griffin’s core significance, the fantastical elaborations of his adventures are scaled back. The Empty Lot Next Door, Second Edition veers away from youthful imagination, instead focusing on a more factual recounting that amplifies the evil lurking on Ben Howell Drive in Austin, TX. Promising a blend of grim realities over fanciful escapades, the second edition aims to unsettle with truths rather than fantasies.

Reflecting on the initial feedback, I realize it wasn’t just about Griffin’s character but about finding the right balance in storytelling. These reflections, both challenging and enlightening, have profoundly shaped the evolution of The Empty Lot Next Door. As I share this second edition, I hope readers will find a deeper connection to the story’s truths and appreciate Griffin’s role not as a mere flight of fancy but as a beacon of resilience and imagination that illuminates the darker corners of our reality.


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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