Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Q&A with Roselee Blooston


Roselee Blooston is the author of the new memoir Almost: My Life in the Theater. Her other books include The Chocolate Jar and Other Stories, and her work has appeared in a variety of publications. Also a playwright and actor, she lives in New York's Hudson Valley.



Q: What inspired you to write this memoir about your life in the theater?


A: Almost: My Life in the Theater helped me to fully come to terms with my thoughts and feelings about not succeeding in my first chosen profession––acting.


If it had been only an exorcism of the demons related to that disappointment, it would have merited journal entries, nothing more, but I soon recognized that this subject––ambition, failure, the drive to create, and reinvention––is universal, and reaches far beyond theater and the arts.


Anyone who has ever strived to realize a dream and fallen short will identify. Hence, the memoir.


Q: How would you describe your relationship with acting at this point in your life?

A: My relationship to acting at this point in my life is akin to my relationship to first love. I can look back with clear eyes and perspective on my drive, talent, and stubborn refusal to face facts with fondness, respect, and some headshaking. Like first love, it was passionate, messy, and formative, and ultimately led me to more complete self-knowledge, for which I’m grateful.


I no longer need to act, but I use the same skills whenever I give a reading or a talk. I wouldn’t be who I am now, if I hadn’t been an actress then.


Q: How was the book's title chosen, and what does it signify for you?


A: In the summer of 2015, when I was stymied by a less-than competent agent and having trouble placing my first memoir, Dying in Dubai, my son––also a writer––suggested that I take a break and work on something new, and he was very specific. “Write about your history as an actress and call it Almost,” he said.


I thought that was a brilliant suggestion and promptly wrote a draft of the memoir. The title perfectly captures the yearning and frustration of a life in the arts, and how “success” in such pursuits can seem to be just around the corner, so near and yet so far away.


Then, amazingly, I got a contract for the first memoir and for two more books after. Almost: My Life in the Theater is my fourth book and second memoir.


Q: Of the various experiences you recount in the book, are there one or two that especially stand out for you?


A: Without giving too much away, I had multiple encounters with Oscar-winning actresses.


My very public argument with Olympia Dukakis backstage after a show I co-directed for her was a standout experience, mainly because she got such a kick out of the fact that I wasn’t intimidated by her that she invited me onto the Steering Committee of her writing group.


She also saw me clearly as a misplaced professional and challenged me to stop “hiding” in the suburbs. Her accurate assessment took me years and this memoir to process.


Q: What are you working on now?


A: 2022 is a two-book year for me––my collection, The Chocolate Jar and Other Stories, came out in April, and of course, Almost: My Life in the Theater is coming out now––so, I’m deep into the pre- and post-PR for both works, which always edges out my writing.


Still, I’m working on a personal essay for an anthology on aging and positivity that I was invited to contribute to, so I’m keeping my writing muscles active. After some time off, I plan to tackle a couple of new projects. My website,, will always feature upcoming work. Stay tuned.


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: I’m having a unique book launch for the memoir: a return to the stage in a Spalding Gray-style monologue, also called Almost: My Life in the Theater, based on the book, at The CENTER for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck (NY) with performances on Sept. 30, Oct. 1, and 2, and in celebration of my milestone birthday on publication day, Sept. 29.


The books will be sold in the lobby after each show. If you are in the area, please join me!


--Interview with Deborah Kalb. Here's a previous Q&A with Roselee Blooston.

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