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Baby graves

If somebody came up to you and asked, "Guess who you know who spent the afternoon taking pictures of baby graves," I'm sure by now your first, second, and third guess would be me. Hell, the dead babies in the graves would know it was me. Which makes sense, since as it so happens, that is in fact how I spent the afternoon.

I don't know why I find the loss of babies so particularly fascinating. It's certainly tied into my greater fixation of Complicated Feelings Regarding Babies which informs so much of my literary work. But it's probably because it's so uniquely tragic. The loss of a child is supposed to be the deepest pain there is. Even if you never knew them, you were hoping for them, ready to be a parent, and then all that gets dashed away. And it's a loss of potential-- they could have been anything, and now that will never be.

Years ago, I learned that my grandmother had a stillbirth in addition to her nine miscarriages before she had any live children. I've never been able to get that out of my mind, especially since the dead baby girl didn't have a name, and because they couldn't afford a headstone, no one knows where she is buried anymore. The thought of that stillbirth inspired the ones that made it into my writing, starting with [Spoiler (click to open)]Baby Girl Royce in The Stand, and more prominently, [Spoiler (click to open)]Gabriel Hawking.

I've been walking through this cemetery for years, so it's super-strange I never noticed before, given my longtime obsession with baby-related tragedy. But apparently there's a little cluster of baby graves there! They have some interesting and melancholy qualities to them. Many have only one date on them-- were they born dead? Or, with the ones with only a year, did they die before their first birthday? And almost all of them had lamb motifs, somewhere in their design.

I find that moving, for some reason. The Lamb collects unto Himself the lambs that were cut too soon. And look at these nameless twins, with only one date. Two dead babies. Can you imagine?

It occurred to me that I could write a scene for a future Mrs. Hawking story where somebody, probably Nathaniel, goes to visit the graves of the Colonel [Spoiler (click to open)]and Gabriel. I'm not sure how to work it in, or what would happen in the scene, but I wondered what a grave for a child who hadn't lived would look like. Now I know. One date on it, with a representation of a lamb, and not always with a name.

About Me

My name is Phoebe. I'm Boston area theater professional and English professor focused in writing, acting, directing, and modeling. I'm known for having lots of interests, lots of opinions about those interests, and a very high estimation of the value thereof. This blog is for talking about whatever's on my mind, from my daily life to my activities to musing on any number of abstract topics. Thanks for taking the time to read.

My productions:

Upcoming Productions:

MRS. HAWKING part 2 and 3

at the Watch City Steampunk Festival 2016

presented by The Chameleon's Dish

Vivat Regina
by Phoebe Roberts

at 2PM


Base Instruments
by Phoebe Roberts

at 6PM

Saturday, May 13th 2017
at 274 Moody Street, Waltham, MA

Other Achievements:

"The Tailor at Loring's End" screenplay
Quarter Finalist in the Final Draft Big Break Screenwriting Competition 2013

"Adonis" screenplay
Top Ten Percent in the Bluecat Screenwriting Contest 2015

Latest Month

April 2017


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