Welcome, Adam McOmber!

This month we are celebrating the titles that we’ve acquired over the past twelve months. These manuscripts came to us through our open reading periods. Today we bring you Adam McOmber, whose short story collection Fantasy Kit is due out next summer. 

Have a manuscript you think we’d like? During our June Open Reading Period we are looking for poetry (chapbooks and full-length collections), short fiction (again, both chapbooks and full-length collections), novels, novellas, nonfiction (CNF, biography, cultural studies), anthology proposals, and translations from German. 




The Author

Adam McOmber is the author of three novels The White Forest (Touchstone) Jesus and John (Lethe) and The Ghost Finders (JournalStone) as well as two collections of short fiction This New & Poisonous Air and My House Gathers Desires (BOA Editions). His short fiction has appeared in ConjunctionsKenyon ReviewBlack Warrior Review, Diagram and numerous other magazines and journals. He teaches in the MFA Writing Program at Vermont College of Fine Arts where he is also the editor-in-chief of the literary magazine Hunger Mountain




On Writing Fantasy Kit

I wrote the stories that appear in Fantasy Kit over a period of about ten years while living in Chicago and Los Angeles. There are thirty-five pieces in all and each represents a formal experiment of sorts. I decided on the title Fantasy Kit because the stories feel very much like “kits” to me, objects that the reader is asked to assemble in various ways. This is, I think, my favorite book that I’ve written; it’s also the most personal. Some of the stories take place in and around the small farm town where I grew up in Northwestern Ohio (a setting I’ve rarely used in my fiction). And many others take place in what I might call my spiritual landscape, providing queer approaches to the genres that have appealed to me since I was young. Horror and decadence play a big role here, as do explorations of time and its impossibilities. Another project in these stories was to write more frankly and honestly about queer sex and queer desire. It was interesting to allow that part of myself to express itself on the page. I’m very excited to share Fantasy Kit with everyone, and so thankful to Diane Goettel and Black Lawrence Press for putting it out into the world.


For Witches


Ohio, 1994


Here is a language for witches. No. Here is a language for high school. No. Here is magic in all its occult guises. No. Here is high school in all its occult guises. No. Here is a hallway in a high school. The floor is gray linoleum. Lockers line the walls. On the doors of some of the lockers are footballs cut from construction paper. Jersey numbers are written on the footballs in black felt-tip marker. At the end of the hall is a banner that reads: “Go Bobcats!” A bobcat with black ears and yellow eyes is painted in one corner of the banner. No. Here is a path in the forest at midnight. The path is lined with gray trees. Nailed to the trunks of the trees are the long dark tongues of cows. The tongues were removed from the animals with a knife. At the far end of the path is a banner with a symbol drawn on it. No. Here is a high school student named Tom. He lives in a small town in Ohio. For the past three years, Tom has been in love with his best friend, Jason, who plays football. Jason has no idea that Tom is gay. Or maybe he has an idea. But it doesn’t matter. Tom wishes there were some spell or even a curse that would make Jason fall in love with him. No. Here is a figure in the forest. The figure passes through the trees, touching the bloodied cow tongues with the tips of its fingers. No. Tom stands in the bathroom of the high school and looks at his face in the mirror. He supposes it is a handsome face. He supposes that doesn’t matter. No. Here is a figure crawling like a horror on a path between the trees. No. Here is Tom waiting for Jason after football practice. Usually, they walk home together, but Jason has been more distant lately. They’re both going to be seniors next year. No. Here is Tom walking home alone. No. Here are all the trees in the forest attempting to speak with their cow tongues. Blood runs from the tongues as they twitch and curl. No. Here is a hallway in a high school. Someone has torn down all the paper footballs and thrown them on the floor. Someone has torn down the banner too. Ripped it in half. The bobcat stares at the ceiling with vacant yellow eyes. No. Here are the voices calling. They are not the voices of the trees. They are not the voices of the cows. They are the voices of other things. Disembodied. Moving through darkness. And they speak, all at once, in a language no one has ever heard before.