Bess Garrett

bess.jpgFor 10 years, Bess Garrett owned and operated an independent, specialty bookstore. Although fulfilled in her work, after a time she began to feel the limitations of this “dream job.” When a regular customer offered to buy the business, Garrett, an art history major as an undergraduate, took up weaving with a passion, ending up in India on a cultural exchange trip. A growing fascination with south Asian art and literature led her to St. John’s, where she appreciated the inclusiveness of the Eastern Classics Program and felt free both to reexamine previous Eurocentric preconceptions and to make new discoveries, such as the unimaginably rich language of Sanskrit. “What I enjoy most about this experience is the sense of it being a collaborative effort,” Garrett says. “For example [in the Sanskrit tutorial], we’re trying to arrive at a collective under-standing about how to extract meaning from this amazing language. If you’re going to be a poet, writing in Sanskrit would be the way to go.”

"Masterpieces are not single and solitary births; they are the outcome of many years of thinking in common, of thinking by the body of the people, so that the experience of the mass is behind the single voice."
- Virginia Woolf