EleanorTurnbull400Tim Bascom is the author of five books, including the memoirs Chameleon Days (winner of the Bakeless Prize in Nonfiction) and Running to the Fire (Finalist for the Indiefab Memoir of the Year). The memoirs chronicle years he spent in Ethiopia as the son of missionaries, during the reign of Emperor Selassie and during the Marxist Revolution that overthrew the emperor. In addition, His essays have been published in major anthologies such as Best Creative Nonfiction and Best American Travel Writing.

As a native Kansan, Tim has lived most of his life in the prairie region of the U.S. In Climbing Lessons, he draws on the experience of 4 generations of his Midwestern family—with three uncles, two brothers, and two sons. Sometimes, when he is most lucky, he still plays soccer with those grown sons, who love to debate with him.


by Tim Bascom

Climbing Lessons

When Doc Bascom tries to show his grade school sons how to climb a huge sycamore, he ends up dropping 12 feet flat-out on his back. Stunned, he finally gasps, “So that’s how it’s done.” And in that moment, he becomes an emblem for all fathers—trying to lead the way, failing, then getting up and trying again.

This “climbing lesson” is just one of 40 playful, sometimes poignant stories by award-winning author Tim Bascom, who illustrates the special bond between fathers and sons—and how that relationship must change with time. When Tim takes his own turn at fathering, he realizes that his devoted toddlers are turning into unimpressed teenagers. No longer the hero he had hoped to be, he must accept a new, flawed version of himself, not unlike his father before him.

These brief inter-linked stories show that abiding affection can still prevail, bringing fathers and sons closer, even as they tackle the steepest parts of the climb.


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