Photo © Maureen Gates.
Roselee Blooston is a writer, actress, teacher, and arts administrator whose works for the stage have been widely produced, and whose fiction and essays have appeared in print and online magazines, and in anthologies. She is the author of Dying in Dubai: A Memoir of Marriage, Mourning, and the Middle East, published by Apprentice House Press, Loyola University Maryland in October 2016. Roselee was founding director of Tunnel Vision Writers’ Project, Inc., a non-profit organization located in New Jersey, specializing in original interdisciplinary collaborations with composers, visual artists and dancers.
Roselee holds an MFA in Drama from Trinity University at the Dallas Theater Center where she won the Greer Garson Award, and a BA in Drama from Vassar College where she was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She has taught acting, voice and speech, and dramatic writing on the faculties of the University of Texas at Austin, the New School, the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, Montclair State University, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, and the Smithsonian Institution.
Her volunteer work has included a township appointee position on the Montclair Arts Council, work with the Montclair Art Museum’s Spoken Arts Committee, and a position on the board of the Rotary Club of Rhinebeck, New York.
What are you reading? What's on your nightstand?
I'm currently reading Edna O'Brien's Country Girl—gorgeous prose and what a life. On my nightstand: The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney and Interlock—Art, Conspiracy, and the Shadow Worlds of Mark Lombardi, by my Vassar classmate, Patricia Goldstone.
Where do you go to get inspired?
Walking around the beach road in my lovely lake community never fails to clarify my thoughts, and museum-going, looking at art, both classic and modern, always inspires me.
What's something that surprised you recently (in a good way)?
I've been both surprised and moved by how many long-lost friends have reached out to me with love and support upon hearing of the publication of Dying in Dubai.
Where do you write?
I write in my study in front of a huge window overlooking trees and sky, on a mid-century modern roll-top desk that my husband bought for me; it has a slight tilt, which I like, but not enough for my computer and papers to slide off! If the weather's good, I write outside under an umbrella on a powder-blue metal cafe table.
What/who makes you laugh? Why?
My son makes me laugh, because, like his father, he's naturally hilarious. Dogs make me laugh with their eagerness and in-the-moment delight at the sheer wonder of being alive. And Mel Brooks, Bill Maher, Amy Schumer, Sarah Silverman—they are masters.
Favorite fictional character ever?
That's easy. Jane Eyre. She's so real to me, and was when I first encountered her at the age of eleven; her strength, independence, passion, common sense, and enormous resilience make her an ever-modern woman.
What do you want readers to know about your books?
I wrote Dying in Dubai because writing is the way I deal with big issues in my life. I needed to find out what I thought about what had happened to me, to my husband, and in my marriage, and knew that if I did that honestly and clearly it would not only help me, but would also help readers I would never meet, who might be working through their own challenges concerning loss and the complications of love. From the beginning, I kept that reader in mind.
What are you working on?
I'm working on a "sequel," if you will, to Dying in Dubai. It's tentatively titled, Hudson Valley Happiness—yes, I like alliteration—and it's about my new life, reinvention, and renewal. (There I go again with Rs!)
"Roselee Blooston's beautifully written, brutally honest memoir of endurance and ultimate acceptance of the cataclysmic sudden death of her life's partner rings truer than any of the many I have read and more movingly than any I could have written. Writing has been a catharsis for Roselee, as it was for me. Here is a helpful and, yes, healthy lesson for surviving the trials and tribulations of widowhood and the essential task of becoming a 'new you.' As Roselee put it at the book's end: 'Facing loss opened me up, and I like who I've become."
—Jane Brody, New York Times columnist & best-selling author of Jane Brody’s Guide to the Great Beyond
"After her husband suffers a life-threatening aneurysm halfway across the globe, Blooston finds herself navigating far more than the emotional dislocations of imminent, then actual, loss. From the moment she lands in Dubai, she must contend with the social dislocations of a country where women—newly bereaved widows included—have no standing. Riveting from start to finish, Blooston’s beautifully written memoir is a truly original contribution to the grief literature."
—Jill Smolowe, author of Four Funerals and a Wedding