Blast From The Past: A Walk Down Memory Lane With Shaun Cassidy

Dear Beliebers,

Once upon a time, way way back in 1978, your moms or maybe even your grandmas used to have crushes on teen idols too.  For this 48 year old woman, the sun rose and set on The Hardy Boys’ star: bubblegum pop singing sensation, Shaun Cassidy, who today is 53, a successful television producer and the father of seven children from three different marriages!  Yes, my bedroom walls were covered in posters of him and I collected at least a dozen binders full of teen magazine articles and posters on The Hardy Boys that I kept until I was in my late 30s when I finally threw them all in a dumpster.

The other day, one of my longtime close friends, Vicki, sent me the most delightful package in the mail.  It was a pristine copy of the May 15, 1978 issue of People magazine (back when it used to be good!) featuring Shaun Cassidy on its cover.  Ever since I took it out of the package and flipped through the magazine, I’ve been taking a walk down memory lane with a big, silly grin on my face.

You see, Shaun Cassidy was a really big deal for me – and millions of other teens of the 70s – when I was 14 years old, just like Justin Bieber is to tweens today.  Although he wasn’t my first celebrity crush (that honour went to Jack Lord of Hawaii Five-0), he was my biggest and he was also the reason that my BFF of 36 years, Jennifer Amy, and I bonded in the school yard at recess.  Once we discovered that we were both huge fans of The Hardy Boys television series on ABC, we became inseparable. Jen preferred older, preppy Parker Stevenson while I couldn’t stop gushing over the younger, baby-faced, feather-haired Shaun.  Lifelong friendships have probably been based on less, but we have lots in common that keeps us interested in regular two hour telephone conversations to this day.

The first concert I ever attended was Shaun Cassidy at CNE Stadium in the summer of 1978.  My mother let me go with Jen on the Great Canadian Rock Tours bus to Toronto to see my beloved teen idol and to this day, Jen and I still remember how it felt to sit in the stadium and listen to tens of thousands of teenage girls scream their hearts out when he sang “Da Doo Ron Ron”, “Hey Deanie”, and “That’s Rock & Roll”.

I went to see Shaun a second time in August of 1979 with another good friend, my next door neighbour, Janice Rowe, who is also still a close friend to this day.  She was a huge Bay City Rollers fan and a little older than me, but she humoured me and came along because I wasn’t allowed to go to Toronto by myself.  We hung around by the gates to the entrance of the stadium hoping to spot Shaun but the most I ever succeeded in was meeting his best friends, Room 222 star David Jolliffe and Cloris Leachman’s son, George Englund Jr. (who I just discovered in my research dated Sharon Stone!). They were kind to Shaun’s fans and even gave me their autograph.

I used to write to pen pals who I discovered through the teen magazines and one of them was fortunate enough to get some decent snapshots of Shaun in concert at the Ohio State Fair in August 1979 so I bought some from her with my babysitting money.  I never got close enough to the stage in Toronto to take any kind of clear shots, although I do have some of those old Kodak 110 camera blurry snaps of the stage with a centimeter-high band in them.

I was so inspired by young Cassidy that I wrote my very first poem about him when I was 14, simply entitled “Shaun”.  To my great surprise it was published in 16 Magazine and Scholastic Book Services’ Rock’s Biggest Ten (if anyone out there has a copy of this book published in 1979 by David Dachs, I’d love to buy it!).  Years later, after I’d been writing way better poetry for quite some time, I was approached by Young Poets of Canada about writing an article called “What It’s Like To Be A Young Poet.”  I also wrote a mystery novella called The End of Our Rainbow, about Jen’s and my adventures with Shaun & Parker.  My high school pals read and reviewed it for me and I still have the original typed copy of it with pictures cut out of Tiger Beat magazine and handwritten comments by my friends.  It’s ultra melodramatic and totally HILARIOUS!!  So you see, my teen idol crush inspired me to write and I still write today.  I’m also still a huge music fan who gets regular crushes on different singing sensations, only now they’re considerably older than 19!

What Books, Writing and Reading Mean To Me

If you don’t already know about HarperCollins Canada’s new Savvy Reader website, I want to be sure to tell you about it! It’s run by an absolutely wonderful group of book lovers and employers of HarperCollins Canada and there’s something delightful to be found there for every book lover!

I was honoured to be asked to contribute to The Savvy Reader’s new Blog Spotlight feature and today, they published my article on What Books, Writing and Reading Mean To Me.

This is my original version which is a little bit longer and was edited for space:

My mom told me that ever since I was a toddler my favourite toy or present was always books. She read to me constantly from the time I was a baby to the point when I could read on my own at 5 years of age. The fact that I could read at that age allowed me to skip Kindergarten and ever since I was in grade school, I have written poems and stories myself.

I always dreamed of being a writer and I guess you could say that I am one, even though I don’t make a living that way. When I was 14, I wrote a poem about Shaun Cassidy that was published in a Scholastic Book Services title called Rock’s Biggest Ten. Since then, I’ve had quite a few poems published in newspapers, magazines and poetry anthologies and in 2008, I self-published a book of poetry called Eden Refugee through Lulu.com after being encouraged by my mentor – author, actor, former head of the CBC and all-around Renaissance man, Patrick Watson. It’s safe to say that I simply cannot imagine a life without writing or books!

There are so many reasons why I love books. I love the look of them, the smell of them, and the way they feel in my hands. Holding one is always like anticipating an unknown, wrapped gift, and wondering what it could contain inside. A good writer’s ability to transport you to different times, places, and worlds and to allow you to envision in your own imagination what it’s like there is extraordinary. I love to read on the couch, under a tree, on planes, trains and automobiles, and especially in bed in the morning while I enjoy my first coffee of the day. That’s the epitome of luxury to me! I haven’t purchased a Kindle or Kobo yet but I imagine that I soon will because I have three full bookcases in my home and little room for more. I think they’re pretty cool even though a printed version of a book will always be special to me. I love to read literary fiction, contemporary fiction, historical fiction, historical romance, chick lit, horror, poetry, spirituality/philosophy, biographies and memoirs.

I have been writing book reviews for years but it has only been in the past two years that I’ve really made a conscious effort to write about every book I read. I started my blog Scully Love Promo Reviews on Blogger in 2008 and switched to WordPress at scullylovepromo.wordpress.com last December. I write book reviews because I enjoy the process. I love to read, and I like to do what I can to help promote authors; whether they’re making their publishing debut or are already well-known names. I also write to give my blog content and to drive traffic to my website for Scully Love Promo which is my social media marketing, management and internet promotion business for authors and musicians. I not only write book reviews, but I write CD and live performance reviews as well as blog about the arts in Kingston, Ontario (where I live), my clients and about social media.

I read other people’s book reviews but not as many as I’d like to because I’m busy reading books and writing my own. I look for intelligent reviews that are well-written and thoughtful, as well as those about the work of my favourite authors or in particular, Irish authors that I haven’t heard of. To say I am very fond of Irish writers is a glaring understatement and I go out of my way to look for books on the sale tables of Chapters or Indigo Books & Music that are written by them. My favourite Irish writers include: Patrick McCabe, Colum McCann, Neil Jordan, Roddy Doyle, Edna O’Brien and Maggie O’Farrell.

My reviews of books are usually based on my emotional reaction to the story. However, I also look for the following factors:

1. Did it move me?
2. Could I relate to the characters?
3. Was I captivated, fascinated, held spellbound?
4. Did it make me laugh, cry, think about it long after I finished the last page?
5. Was I intellectually challenged by the story?
6. Did I learn something I didn’t know before?
7. Would I want to read more work from the same author?

If the answer is yes to all of the above, then it would be more than likely that I would give the book a high rating and recommend it to my blog readers and these are the kinds of things I look for in a fellow blogger’s review as well.

My top 5 favourite reviews that I’ve written since I started blogging are:

1. Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
2. Let The Great World Spin by Colum McCann
3. Thaw by Fiona Robyn
4. The Complete Poetic Works of Michael Madsen Vol. 1: 1995-2005
5. The Wizard Within by Albert Thor

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts is a book I just finished reading and it’s absolutely the best book I’ve ever read! This is the kind of read I always hope for but seldom experience and it’s why I’ll spend the rest of my life reading as much as I possibly can.

Follow me on Twitter @ScullyLovePromo

Eden Refugee – Poetry and Lyrics by Christine Bode

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Christine Bode self-publishes her first book of poetry – Eden Refugee – available at Lulu.com

KINGSTON, ON – JUNE 26, 2008Christine Bode was born and raised in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. She has lived in Toronto and Vancouver and has been writing poetry and song lyrics since she was a teenager. Her first poem, about Shaun Cassidy, was published by Scholastic Book Services in Rock’s Biggest Ten and in 16 Magazine in 1978. Encouraged by a personal letter received from Bob Geldof in 1987 and mentored in this decade by Canada’s legendary broadcasting icon, author, actor and Renaissance man, Patrick Watson, she continues to write and almost understands the meaning of metre. Some of her work has been published in local newspapers, various American anthologies and on the Internet. Many of the original versions of the poems and lyrics in Eden Refugee have been edited.

Christine is the owner and operator of Scully Love Promo, an Internet based business through which she provides online marketing and promotion for first class talented musicians, authors and other artists.  Christine is also a senior entertainment writer for PartyinKingston.com and contributes concert and CD reviews as well as a monthly feature called Actor’s Spotlight.

EDEN REFUGEE viscerally reflects the experiences of a young woman consumed by sex, drugs, rock’n’roll, unrequited love and a constant quest for spiritual enlightenment.

This is Christine Bode’s first published collection of poetry.

Link to preview the book or order your copy of Eden Refugee at:

http://www.lulu.com/content/951416

ISBN: 978-1-4357-2630-7