Rick Belden is the author of Iron Man Family Outing: Poems about Transition into a More Conscious Manhood. Inspired by a puzzling series of dreams about a favorite comic book hero from his boyhood, Iron Man Family Outing chronicles Rick's arduous but ultimately healing odyssey into a dark and damaged internal landscape, the wreckage of a childhood spent with an angry, abusive, distant father. In the course of the book, as Rick begins to understand these dreams and allows them to lead him forward, he also begins to accept his unique personal history, understand its consequences in his adult life and take responsibility for his own healing.
Iron Man Family Outing is widely used in the United States and internationally by therapists, counselors and men's groups as an aid in the exploration of masculine psychology and men's issues, and as a resource for men who grew up in dysfunctional, abusive or neglectful family systems. It has been ranked as one of the top 12 poetry books at Amazon.com and the most popular book on father-son relationships, as determined by reader reviews.
In a September 2009 interview with Dr. Chris Blazina on his weekly program The Secret Lives of Men, Rick spoke about some of the factors that motivated and inspired him to write Iron Man Family Outing:
"It’s the story of a period in my life that was highly transformational. And I had the sense, as I began to pull this all together, that this might actually be useful to other men as a pattern or a template or a map to kind of go into their own processes a little bit more deeply, and to give them some reference points in terms of feeling, in terms of developing a relationship where they get information from their bodies and their dreams, and to really give other people, men in particular, permission to open up to this stuff and share it with other people ... that they feel safe with.
"I was really moved to do a lot of this because I’d been in men’s groups and I’d seen men talk about things in ways that I’d never seen men talk before. I had close friends, we never talked like that, we never shared our emotions with one another. It wasn’t safe to do it. So I was really inspired by that, and my first purpose in doing this book was to open a window into my own process and complete the process for myself, but the larger purpose is to give the opportunity, the permission, and as I said, maybe a pattern or a template or a map for other men that feel ready to go a little deeper into themselves and find out what’s there ...
"Really, I guess what I would say is that, in probably the most elemental way, the book is about progressing toward, not so much a resolution … it’s not a how-to book … it’s more about progressing toward a greater understanding, a greater awareness."
Rick's second book, Scapegoat’s Cross: Poems about Finding and Reclaiming the Lost Man Within, is awaiting publication. He lives in Austin, Texas.