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Truncated and Lectionary and…Avocado, Mango & Walnut Salad

Many moons ago I volunteered at a church that would put on end-of-year productions and my job as a volunteer was to write these for them.  I would work on the productions with a very talented friend of mine who is a music director and he would give me the concept and I would go away and write it.

Avocado, Mango and Walnut Salad

Avocado, Mango and Walnut Salad

I had a great working relationship with Rich and really loved the process of taking something like an idea in its infancy and building it all the way through to a finished script.  What we did have to be mindful of though, were the constraints that were put on the writing process like the fact the show could only be one-hour long and stage time had to be divided equally between the three schools that included singing, dancing and acting yet a complete story with a beginning, middle and end was still expected.  With the show being just one-hour long and the actors only being given a third of that one-hour on stage, the story had to move along at a fairly rapid pace.

One year I was writing a show called Eternum and I was typing away at home when the phone rang.  It was a stranger and she said she had phoned the church asking to connect with other writers and they had given her my number.  She said she was a writer and had recently moved to Sydney and was looking to get to know other writers and she hoped we could all meet together regularly and support each other in what we were doing.  She said that at the meetings we would all get a turn to talk about what we were writing and the others in the group could give suggestions on how what we were doing might be improved.

A perfect summer's salad

A perfect summer’s salad

As she talked on about her plans for this group I wondered who had so thoughtfully given her my number.  I wasn’t interested for a number of reasons.  I didn’t want to discuss my writing with a bunch of strangers, nor have them offer me suggestions on how they thought things might be improved.  And, I didn’t know any writers who worked in collaboration or who shared what they were writing before it was actually published.  The other issue I had is that Sydney is a big place and she didn’t live anywhere near me and was in fact about 90 minutes away by car which would make getting together for meetings difficult and time-consuming.

Eternum was opening in about a week’s time and I didn’t want to be too unkind to this stranger who was reaching out to me so I asked her if she would like to come to the production on the opening night.  I told her I wouldn’t be able to meet with her then because I would be busy backstage but that we could talk a few days after the show.  She thanked me very much and said she would love to come.

I was very pleased with how it went with the show being quite a moving and stirring production with moments that had the audience in hysterics and at other times in tears.  I had so many in the audience telling me it was the best production yet.

I forgot all about Diane but a few days after the show she phoned and I said, ‘Oh hi, Diane, how are you?’

‘I’m good’, she said rather flatly and offered nothing more.  Silence.

‘Thanks so much for coming the other night.  Did you enjoy the show?’  And with a most superior tone she said, ‘I thought it was truncated and lectionary’.  I wasn’t sure I had heard right.

‘Sorry, you thought it was what?’

‘Truncated and lectionary’.  And she didn’t elaborate.  No one said anything.  There was one of those awkward pauses.

‘Oh thanks’, I said,  but I was quite sure I hadn’t been given a compliment.  And then she asked when we could meet for coffee.  I said, ‘I still have quite a bit of work to do with this production so how about I give you a call when when it’s finished?’

And I never called her.  Because as soon as I got off the phone I looked up the words ‘truncated’ and lectionary’.  Truncated means shortened or having a part cut off and lectionary means a collection of scripture readings.  I quite accurately had guessed I hadn’t been given a compliment.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion but I just think that if you move to an area where you have no friends and you want to try and connect with people who have similar vocations or interests, you might want to try to have something nice to say, at least in the first meeting.

I always wonder if Diane ever got that writing group off the ground.

And back when I was dealing with Diane, I was also cooking from the Australian Women’s Weekly Barbecue cookbook that was published so long ago I was able to buy it for $4.98.  Here’s a great salad from the cookbook that’s perfect for these hot conditions.

Just five ingredients for a wonderful salad

Just five ingredients for a wonderful salad

Avocado, Mango and Walnut Salad

Serves:  6

Degree of Difficulty:  1/5

Cost:  I would only make this when avocados and mangoes are in season.

  • 2 avocados, peeled, sliced
  • 2 mangoes, peeled, sliced
  • 1/3 cup walnut halves
  • 3 bacon rashers, finely chopped
  • 1 mignonette lettuce


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbspns lemon juice
  • 1 tspn french mustard
  • 1 tbspn thickened cream

Cook bacon in pan until crisp; drain.  Arrange avocado, mango, walnut halves and bacon over bed of lettuce.  Top with dressing.

Dressing:  Combine all ingredients in screw top jar; shake well.

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  1. I hope she didn’t get her writing group off the ground. Think of all the poor writers with crushed self-esteem! She sounds like someone who is best kept 90 minute away.

    This salad, on the other hand, looks like something I’d like within 90 cm so I could eat it at whim 🙂

  2. Some peeps just have a funny way of reaching out. Love the way you connected the writing with the recipe. Hmmmm writing for the AWW that is coup and very interesting and I am looking forward to quizzing you about it tomorrow. I gather you are not 90 minutes drive away or at least I hope not.
    Ps don’t forget to bring your boy’s cozzies

  3. Your salad looks fantastic. We are warming up to a whopping 45 degrees today. Maybe the warm up calls for a salad? 😉

    As for Miss Diane, she was obviously jealous. Your blog writing is completely entertaining and I look forward to it! I can only imagine the kind of talent it takes to pull off a one hour play. She probably would have stolen all of your ideas anyway. 🙂

  4. Wow … a lot going on it that salad. Well done, Charlie!

  5. I saw this gorgeous salad on facebook and had to check it out! It must be as tasty as it is beautiful!

    PS…the gall of that woman! Sheesh…I have a feeling she is still looking for people to join that group!

  6. Love the salad…mango with the avocado must be terrific. Good thing your city is so large…hopefully you will never run into Diane.

  7. First my eyes had it… I can’t imagine how delicious… it was amazing! Thanks and Love, nia

  8. I doubt Diane ever got that writing group off the ground with that type of superior attitude.

    That salad looks easy to make. Even I could handle that, right? I also noted the lovely beaded style silverware. I’ve never seen anything quite like that design. So elegant.

  9. Looks like a very tasty salad, Charlie, but we’re cold and shivery here in south-western Ontario and soups and stews are more in the plans for my future meals.

    Diane sounds like a pretentious twit. You ‘dodged a bullet’ there. 🙂

  10. Poor you! That was certainly an unkind and unnecessary remark to throw at you, who had worked hard. Love this salad. Perfect for Mexican tastes as well. I picked up a couple of AWW recipe booklets/books while in the Middle East last trip. Always a good choice.

  11. I’m saving this recipe for sure – I love mangoes and avocados and the dressing sounds really good! And I have to make a comment of your beautiful serving spoon and fork!

  12. I’m with you! What a poor way to make friends, or develop partnering possibilities. It’s kind of funny, really. I love avocados and have some ripening right now. I don’t think I need to wait for a hot day at all…this is such a good recipe, Charlie. I put interesting combinations together nicely, but I don’t often have a good dressing to accompany. This is a big help. 🙂

  13. There was probably jealousy furling that woman my friend! I mean your recipes and posts rock (as shown by this one 🙂

    Choc Chip Uru

  14. Good old AWW. But not good old Diane. So you’re a playwright too? Charlie, you do All The Things! 🙂

  15. Well I guess that rules out most church services as well as they are certainly lectionary and usually truncated to fit into time restraints as well 🙂 I wonder what she expected?
    I love those old WW cookbooks, but just rid of over 30 of them 🙁 I guess my bookshelves are slightly truncated too, and it was them our the likes of Kylie Kwong and Luke Nuyen!
    Lovely salad indeed, and just right for this stinking hot weather xox

  16. As a writer, I have been a part of several such critique groups and they can be very helpful and it’s great to share in what can be a very lonely profession but occasionally I have come across a Diane and I have run as fast as my legs could take me (and that’s not too fast). They build themselves up by tearing others down and are so destructive to the fragile writer’s ego that I think they should be struck down by a lightning bolt. What a trumped up piece of work your Diane was! She is probably very lonely.

  17. It does look like a perfect summer salad Charlie, even for someone in the mist of winter…though minus the mangoes for me. 😉

    Happy New Year and looking forward to everything you post in 2013!

  18. My god! What a way to win friends. She may have gotten the writing group going but I doubt it went past its first meeting.
    Such a coincidence – I had lunch at a friend’s yesterday and she made a very similar salad but with chicken instead of bacon. It was delicious!

  19. Hehe have you ever wanted to say that her writing was truncated and lectionary? 😛 Oh how tempting that would have been! 😀

  20. I agree on all counts. Good salad weather we are having at the moment!!! Will give this one a go love avocado and walnuts together and cream in the dressing sounds dreamy.

  21. No matter what group Diane assembled, I’d be willing to bet it was a disappointment for her.
    This is a delicious looking salad, Charlie, and perfect for the heatwave you guys are enduring. I saw that the weather bureau has added a new color to the temperature maps. It’s purple and signifies temps higher than 50˚ C. Unbelievable!

  22. Well, you know she was just jealous after seeing how successful your show ended up being. She was probably expecting a flop. I have come to realise that it’s very hard to do anything without people criticising. Glad to see you just ignored her and did what you wanted anyway.
    Your salad looks delicious and perfect for your summer weather. We, however are freezing in Colorado!

    BTW, my husband and I are still chuckling about your ” nude boys and nude girls” search 🙂

    Nazneen xx

  23. Oh please, what dose Diane know – so what if she knows a few extra words than us.
    Gorgeous salad.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  24. What a …!! I cannot believe she would say that to someone! I’m honestly shocked! This salad looks really tasty I can’t wait to try it once summer comes to the UK!

  25. people are so weird. Haven’t they ever heard of, you know…being nice? As my mom always says, you can catch more bees with honey than you can with vinegar. I bet you could also catch quite a few bees with this salad, which looks delicious.

  26. Wow. People! Or should I say, some people…

    On the other hand, the salad is amazing – all five ingredients must really shine, it’s so well-balanced with lots of colors and textures!

  27. Charlie, I love your salad, it is bookmarked for warmer days here–the flavor and texture combo looks wonderful and homemade dressing is perfect for me. 🙂 I know what you mean about someone saying something you are sure is not a compliment, sometimes it is hard to smile through encounters like that. Sounds like you chose wisely in not returning the call — why encourage poor manners. Hope you are having a grand being to the new year!

  28. Such a lovely salad, I would even go for it in our coolish weather. Of course, anything with avocado is alright in my books.
    I am sorry that you’ve come across quite a few rude people in your day, I’m sure not everyone in Australia is like that, you’ve just had the misfortune of meeting them.

  29. Sounds like you saved yourself some time and aggravation by choosing to walk away, Charlie. No tellin’ how long those “writers’ meetings” might have lasted, especially with vocabulary jousting on the agenda! Terrific salad recipe — “terrific” as in awesome, not dreadful. 😉

  30. It takes all kinds to make the world. If she was a “real” writer she would know better than to be so rude.
    Love your salad, on my to-make list.

  31. Oh, boo to Diane. I’m sure she didn’t even realize that you were writing for a church group…

  32. I know I shouldn’t be but I’m constantly amazed at the need a small number of people have to criticize others. You were so right not to get involved. My feelers get a bit ragged when someone tells me that they think I’m full of crap so I simply stay away from negative people.

    fwiw, I think you are a fantastic writer and there’s no truncation and lectioning ever in your work. She’s full of shit.

    However… maybe she’d be a nicer person if she ate this salad. I’m sure it would make me nicer. I might not use bad words.

  33. How rude! More flys with honey 🙂 Love this salad. I definately think that it would be great on these hot days. So thankful that the heat didn’t get too bad today!

  34. Beautiful looking salad Charlie. What a strange phrase “truncated and lectionary”..? I still am not really sure what she meant by that!

  35. Truncated. Well, that was in the days before blogs, I guess. Shorter writing is prized now, isn’t it? Ahead of your time, dear! Who wants to be long-winded anyway?

  36. Ouch. Those two big words she used might also be used to describe her attitude and relationships;) hehe. I love a salad with mango. It is like having lunch and dessert at the same time. Good for you for knowing to put her off when you did.

  37. What a story – Not a way to win friends or influence people, that’s for sure.

  38. Truncated and lectionary. What an odd critique. I mean it’s certainly not kind. I just don’t understand some people.

    Your salad looks delicious. I love mango on a salad and with avocado. Great flavors!

  39. Sad story, great salad. So good that you had the instinct to protect yourself.

  40. I have gotten very backed-up on my email, notifications and my own blogs, Charlie, but I had to go back and look at what I missed of yours…I know you are always good and usually good for a hoot and you certainly didn’t disappoint me! I’m sure you were neither truncated nor lectionary…you never have been on the blog!

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