Sunday, January 19, 2020

Quoth The Raven, "Nevermore"

Well... this is the big idea.  It starts out like husband is a librarian. And a huge fan of Edgar Allen Poe.  He loves the man's short stories, poetry, you name it.  Considering my husband was an English major who then went on to get his masters in Library Science, I suppose it isn't surprising.

And looking at the kit, I like the door and windows, and the stairs are interesting so I'll try to work them both into the design.

What I want is something like a room box, based upon the poem, to evoke that mood and echo the setting.

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
    While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—
            Only this and nothing more.”

Which to me says somebody is semi-relaxing, half asleep, probably not super dressed up, reading old books.  It's obviously very dark outside, the proverbial witching hour.  So Victorian lounge-wear.

And as it is his 'chamber' he likely spends a lot of time there, so there's a choice of seats, not just a regular chair but also a chaise to relax upon or nap on.

    Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December;
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
    Eagerly I wished the morrow;—vainly I had sought to borrow
    From my books surcease of sorrow—sorrow for the lost Lenore—
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore—
            Nameless here for evermore.

Which means it's cold outside, even in the south December was chilly and damp, and there's a fireplace with a fire dying slowly.  And the man is severely depressed.

I really like the style of the second fireplace, so I'll try to do something similar with bookcases built in on either side.  With a set of portraits above the mantel, of Poe and Lenore hopefully, draped in black crepe as was appropriate for someone in mourning.

And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me—filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
    So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
    “’Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door—
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;—
            This it is and nothing more.”

I'd like to point out that what my husband loves about Poe is his ability to make you doubt the...sanity of the narrator.  It was one of Poe's signature traits, the unreliable narrator.  So you can't know if you're hearing the truth, a fantasy/nightmare, or a combination of the two.

But from that verse I get purple silk curtains.

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore;
    Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
    But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door—
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door—
            Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

So just inside the doorway, likely on a shelf over the door, is bust of Pallas Athena, and on it, a Raven.

Which I've found a plastic bust of Pallas Athena on Etsy since creating one is beyond my capabilities, like way beyond.

But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door;
    Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
    Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore—
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
            Meant in croaking “Nevermore.”

There were desk chairs and library chairs with wheels, so I'll try to recreate something like this.  With some sort of cushioned backrest.

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
    And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
    And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
            Shall be lifted—nevermore!

Kinda gives the impression that this guy died staring at the bird.  Which leaves the room empty except for ghosts.  And the bird is still sitting on the bust staring.  Nooo...not creepy at all!

So I do have a black bird which can pass as a Raven in a pinch.  What I still need to procure are some...things for the exterior.

I want it to look like this:

Or something similar to this.  I really like the idea of a room box, to look like books on the outside and inside, a 'chamber' with a back hall and maybe a staircase going up, half hidden, gothic wallpaper, dark floors... minimal light, just enough to cast shadows and make the place look suitably creepy.

I'm excited. I've never done anything like this.

So I need to hit up thrift stores or the library donation reject box for some battered old books.  Luckily the librarian husband works at a library (go figure) and says he'll be on the lookout.

I'm also still trying to build barn doors so I can fix up my 1:1 house a bit.  They're a bit heavier than 1:12 doors.

Can't wait to see what the rest of you are coming up with for this kit!


  1. Ooooohhhh... this is looking very very promising! I have always wanted to do a "roombox" of a library to sit on a bookshelf... Yours is going to be fantastic to see! And I am sure it will be tons of fun to follow the creation! What a great idea... and I never would have imagined all that from the kit beginning! LOL! :)

  2. Brilliant! I have a Poe secret storage book made from an old law book (works for a small diorama), but I have always wanted a room box made from books. So excited to watch this build!

  3. What an absolutely brilliant idea and concept!! I love it and can't wait to follow along.

  4. This sounds so great! I love all the inspiration you have found too. So evocative.

  5. Yes, yes, YES! The poem gives you all the elements for the framework of the room but leaves you heaps of space to imagine and add your own details. I love the idea that the scene tells a story. Your character needs to have a hand hanging limp with a book, and possibly a fallen over glass or teacup nearby. Is he dozing in his chair, or is he dead?...

  6. This is so exciting. What a brilliant idea!

  7. Que gran idea! Es genial y a la vez prometedora,tienes grandes ideas para ella,estoy segura que tendrás gran diversión en su realización!

  8. This is a really exciting idea! I love room boxes in books, and the Poe idea is brilliant. So glad you found the bust, as I would think that would be the hardest part. Can't wait to see this come to life!

  9. What an interesting and brilliant idea, Sheila, you tell your ideas for this kit like if the story has already come alive, it's great, I love it!! It will be so exciting to follow the building process here, I nearly can't wait!!
    Hugs, Ilona

  10. I absolutely LOVE this idea, and all of the aspects and reasons for doing it! You are going to do such a fabulous job with this theme, and it will be so much fun to see all of the little secrets and references you include in it! Once again I can't wait to follow along on this build!!!

  11. Really great ideas. I'm excited to see what you come up with
    (I have been collecting old books to do a room box inside them - because I need more projects.. lol)
    Good luck with the competition!

  12. What a fantastic theme and concept for this somehow special roombox - this will be an awesome project and I can't wait to see your steps and how you're going to visualize this poem. Oh, and don't forget to put the version of The Alan Parson's Project on your playlist while building it. ;O)


  13. Some fantastic ideas Sheila and I think they really suit the structure. Very rich and lux.

  14. you absolutely have to have a Poe book for your outside I googled ebay briefly and heres the collected works for 23 dollars