Climbing Lessons

Climbing Lessons is a collection of inter-linked stories about the bond between fathers and sons, a bond often nurtured through out-of-door adventures. Like modern-day parables, each of these playful, sometimes poignant stories illustrates the bond between fathers and sons–and how that must change with time.

Jim Heynen, author of the well-loved fiction collections One Room Schoolhouse and Ordinary Sins, says, “Anyone can tell family stories, but few can tell them with such warm-hearted and arresting details. Although the book’s primary focus is on the beauties and difficulties of father-son relationships, these stories will warm every reader’s heart.”

About Author

Tim Bascom is author of a new collection of autobiographical stories titled Climbing Lessons: Stories of Fathers, Sons, and the Bond Between (Light Messages Press, 2020).  He is also the author of two coming-of-age memoirs set in Ethiopia, where his parents worked as missionaries before and during the Marxist Revolution:  Running to the Fire (University of Iowa Press, April, 2015, Finalist for the IndieFab Memoir of the Year) and Chameleon Days (Houghton Mifflin, 2006, winner of the Bakeless Literary Prize in Nonfiction).

Bascom spent half his childhood in Kansas and the other half in East Africa.  He also spent six months in the Philippines on a college internship, later traveling to over 25 countries while working for a non-profit that provided training for writers and editors in developing nations.  He is the author of an additional collection of essays (The Comfort Trap) and a novel (Squatters’ Rites), and his writing has won editor’s prizes at The Missouri Review and Florida Review, being selected for Best American Travel Writing and Best Creative Nonfiction as well as the anthologies Law and Disorder and Fried Walleye and Cherry Pie.


Running to the Fire

“The bus is swaying along 7,000 feet above sea level, covered with fine red dust, when we come upon an incredibly deep ravine and a narrow bridge and two sentries lounging behind a half-circle of sandbags with a mounted machine gun perched next to them like a praying mantis.  The brakes squeal.  The sentries straighten.  And the old man who has fallen asleep against me starts to fall forward before catching himself and lifting his woolly head, smelling of wood-smoke. . .”

Chameleon Days

“As we left the Addis Ababa airport and started across the city, my brother Johnathan and I stared out the windows of the Volkswagen van like dazed astronauts.  He was six and I was only three, but we were both old enough to sense that life might never be the same.  A torrent of brown-skinned aliens streamed by on both sides, treating the road like a giant sidewalk, their white shawls and bright head wraps bobbing as they weaved around each other.  Donkeys and oxen bumped into the van, whipped along by barefoot men in ballooning shorts. . .”

Law and Disorder

Tim Bascom’s story “Final Fantasy” is part of this larger anthology, Law and Disorder, which explores themes related to police, victims, criminals, lawyers, and court proceedings. The stories often concern the disorder before or after charges have been filed and criminals sentenced. They explore laws of family, community, religion, social class, race, gender, sex, identity, and even human nature. 

What Other Authors Say

“Such precision in voice earned Bascom the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference Bakeless Prize…. Nostalgic but not overwrought, Bascom’s memoir is accented with casual family snapshots like ribbons on the gift of a gently captured place in time.”
—Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) on Chameleon Days

Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) on Chameleon Days

“This is a lyrical chronicle, filled with nostalgia, longing, dignity and soulfulness. A good book brings the things far close to our heart. Running to the Fire does exactly that and much more.”

Da Chen, NYT bestselling memoirist and award winning novelist