Celebrate new beginnings for the new year … ‘Lessons Learned from Living’

■ BY SUE ERWIN

Alice Gorman will be speaking at an event, “New Beginnings from Crisis,” that will be held at the Boca Grande Community Center, Houghton Room, at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 5.

The discussion is part of the Friends of Boca Grande series “Lessons Learned from Living” moderated by Grace Ott. Gorman has been a writer most of her life. She will discuss how writing and the creative spirit have guided her through the most difficult experiences of loss in her life. Some of those experiences include the death of a sibling, divorce, depression, the suicide of a loved one and a life-threatening illness in her own life.

In 2005, after her husband Aubrey Gorman died, she earned an MFA degree in writing from Spalding University. She has been featured in several national publications since then. “I see the creative spirit as a force of life that exists inside every human being. That force sustains a person in times of extreme stress. It often opens doors to new ways of looking at the situation.

Everyone has the capacity to touch into that force, whether it’s through writing, painting, gardening or creating a flower arrangement,” she said. Gorman has a poem published in “Island Dreams: The Live Poets of Boca Grande,” titled “A New Day,” which is about looking forward and not focusing on the problems of yesterday.

“I remember my thoughts during particularly difficult periods and how I often felt grateful for Monday. Monday was always a new beginning,” she said. Gorman said it’s more difficult for people to be creative if they were not encouraged as children.

“Children are open and honest. The older we get, the more closed we can become, but, as I once read, it’s never too late to have a happy childhood,” she said. As a child, she wanted to be a singer, but her mother told her she had no talent and that singing lessons would be a waste of money. She continued to love singing, and as an adult she ended up as the regional chair at the Metropolitan Opera National Council in charge of the auditions program in the mid-South for 15 years.

She said, “Helping young singers to be successful was enormously gratifying to me.” Licensed clinical social worker Grace Ott, Gorman’s daughter and facilitator of the event, said she purposely chose January for this discussion to emphasize using the new year to create new beginnings.

“The holidays are very difficult for many people. I’ve heard countless people say they can’t wait for this year to be over with after they’ve gone through tough situations.” Gorman is filled with gratitude for her life.

“Life is about stories, and we all have them,” she said. “When people share meaningful, sometimes painful, parts of our lives with one another, it helps us to connect and see how much we all have in common.” She added that people sometimes need to be reminded that in any situation, there is always another way of thinking about it. “We have good times and we have bad times. And thank goodness we don’t always have to live in the bad times,” Gorman said. “Now is the perfect time to think about leaving the old year behind; 2016 is almost over, and you don’t have to take it with you.”

The talk will be held in the Houghton Room at the Community Center, located at the corner of First Street and Park Avenue.

For more information, call 964-0827.