Attorney-Turned-Author Completes Trilogy


(Saturday, December 30, 2006 9:11 AM EST)

Some people dance, others play golf, but for local attorney Griffin Garnett, writing is what keeps him young.

“I'm 92 years old, but when I write, I am the age of the characters I'm writing about,” said Garnett, who has lived in Arlington since before World War II. “When my characters are 28 to 34, I'm 39.”

Writing is still a relatively new endeavor for Garnett, who was a trial lawyer for more than 55 years. Although he wrote a little in high school and college, he didn't seriously approach the craft again until 1988.

He recently published “Marcus,” the last installment of his “Arlington Trilogy,” which he started in the early 1990s. Other titles in the series include “The Sandscrapers” and “Taboo Avenged.”

The novels tell stories of adventure, based on Garnett's World War II experiences in the U.S. Navy.

Garnett enlisted in the Navy in 1943 and served as an executive officer, and later as skipper, on an amphibious assault ship. He was deployed to places such as New Guinea, the Philippines and Borneo.

The characters of Garnett's trilogy travel those areas of the world, but each novel also includes settings in Arlington.

Garnett classifies himself as a realistic writer, and said he chose Arlington as a prime setting because of his familiarity with the county.

“I decided I knew my county better than anything else,” he said. “I've had more happiness in the last 66 years my wife and I have lived here than I ever dreamed of.”

Garnett, whose influences include authors John Gardner and Gustave Flaubert, describes his writing process as a “disorderly/orderly process.” And even though he is computer literate, he prefers to handwrite his first drafts.

“I don't do an outline. I find it confining,” he said. “I go into a ‘dream time,' get odds and ends [of stories], and then I'll research.”

Garnett has not started working on a new project, was since he diagnosed with lymphoma earlier this year. Doctors gave him only six months to live, but that was eight months ago. He said he “missed the bullet” and is recovering slowly but surely. He has glimpses of a future work, but nothing solid yet.

“Marcus” has received numerous positive reviews, and Garnett won “Best Fiction-Runner Up” at the 2006 DIY Book Festival, Book of the Year competition. But he shies from the publicity, and prefers to keep a low profile.

“The main thing I'm interested in is that people enjoy it and get a kick out of it,” he said.

Griffin Garnett is over 90, but he's continuing a second career as an author.

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