This massive Journal runs to 2,762 pages of single-spaced typed pages and
covers the years 1950 - 1980. This page count does not include ten autograph
notebooks kept while traveling. Griffin kept a journal from the age of sixteen
until twenty-one. When France was about to fall to the Germans, he gave the
journals to a schoolmate for safe-keeping. "Years later when I returned to
France [in 1976], I retrieved the journal which had been buried on my friend's
father's farm during the war." As he read what he had written so long ago,
Griffin became saddened by the discovery that it was filled with petty
reflection on music, food, and literature and practically nothing on the World
War. Griffin burned this journal.
John Mason Brown, the theatre critic, encouraged Griffin to write. The
result was his first novel, The Devil Rides Outside, written in 1949.
Griffin began his mature Journal in December of 1950, the third year of
his blindness. He would regain his sight seven years later. When he was not
working on novels or short stories, he wrote his Journal, which became a
seedbed for most of the work he would publish later. Its pages are full of
fragments and drafts of stories and novels; essays and articles; meditations on
human rights, the Civil Rights Movement, and major events such as the murder of
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., ethics, religion and philosophy; responses to the
music he listened to constantly; discussions of cooking, farming and family
relationships; insights into the realities of blindness and how the condition is
wrongly perceived by the sighted; speculations on psychology, sociology,
anthropology and the arts in relation to the diminishment of culture in America.