22 responses

  1. Jan Priddy
    January 14, 2019

    It is an interesting approach, an ekphrastic challenge. Thank you.

    Reply

    • Nicole Breit
      January 15, 2019

      Thank you for reading and your comment, Jan!

      Reply

  2. Karen Zey
    January 15, 2019

    Another thought-provoking call to explore wonder and form in our CNF. Thanks for this, Nicole Breit!

    Reply

    • Nicole Breit
      January 16, 2019

      Thank you, Karen!

      Reply

  3. Toby Goode
    January 15, 2019

    Wonderful craft essay. Interesting, informative, and I’m inspired to try my hand at it. Thank you!

    Reply

    • Nicole Breit
      January 15, 2019

      Thanks so much for your kind words, Toby!

      Reply

  4. Anne McGrath
    January 16, 2019

    This is one of my top 3 fave craft essays of all time–fresh, complex, and beautifully written. I went down a rabbit hole following links and then links to other links where I found lovely visual art, book lists, and additional craft essays. Enormous thanks for guiding me on this delightful and informative path. So much to love here.

    Reply

    • Nicole Breit
      January 16, 2019

      Anne, thank you for your response to my piece. I’m so glad you enjoyed it and the new places it led you. 🙂

      Reply

  5. Sara
    January 16, 2019

    As a high school English teacher with a creative writing class, this was a wonderfully inspiring post. I agree with Anne McGrath’s comment: this took me on a journey to so many resources. I’m definitely going to try this form myself and with my students and will be sharing it with my colleagues as well. Thank you!

    Reply

    • Nicole Breit
      January 16, 2019

      Lovely! Thank you, Sara, for letting me know. Exploring this form has changed so much about what I thought a flash essay could be, and has helped my students approach their memories, and their writing, differently, with brilliant results. I hope your students enjoy it, too!

      Reply

  6. Linda
    January 27, 2019

    I love this idea! I’m trying it out tomorrow. I do a fair amount of flash, but the idea of of juxtaposition is great. It could also make a good visual piece to hang.
    -Linda in Maine

    Reply

    • Nicole Breit
      February 4, 2019

      This is lovely to hear, Linda, and I can imagine a hybrid visual-textual diptych that could be hung on a wall. Great idea!

      Reply

  7. OMC
    January 31, 2019

    This is fabulous and super inspiring. I wonder if you can offer any formatting help? How to place two columns of text side by side? Word and Google Docs seem to want to create columns page by page rather than breaking the two pieces of the essay where I want!! 🙂

    Reply

    • Nicole Breit
      February 4, 2019

      Hi, and thank for your lovely comment! In Word you can create a table with two columns and one row to line up your text side by side. I’m not sure about Google Docs…I hope that helps!

      Reply

  8. Marie A Bailey
    February 13, 2019

    I’m bookmarking this essay. I struggle with writing nonfiction even though I really, really want to. My memory is porous, too many holes that lead me to write fiction, otherwise I’d be lying. I’m thinking of the diptych as one way to “fill” the holes in my memory, if only for my own edification. Interestingly, I did recently revise a couple of short stories that could be formed into a diptych: in one, a wife is ruminating on her life with a mentally ill husband while raising their two daughters; in the other, one of the daughters is coming to grips with her own feelings about her mentally ill father. It’s a stretch. But thank you for this wonderful essay. Like other readers who commented her, I’ll be doing down a few rabbit holes with the links you’ve shared, and it will be fun.

    Reply

    • Nicole Breit
      March 22, 2019

      I think there are ways to work with memory gaps, Marie. There is a craft article here on the Brevity site by Lisa Knopp about “perhapsing” — including speculation and what might have happened, the narrator’s uncertainty and supposing when one can’t be sure. You’ll find it here: https://brevitymag.com/craft-essays/perhapsing-the-use-of-speculation-in-creative-nonfiction/

      Memory gaps, the slipperiness of memory, and the inevitable differing POVs of others present during an event are something we nonfiction writers have to wrangle with, but doing so while honouring the contract of truth with our readers can be an interesting creative challenge. Sounds like a great idea to bring together two short stories as a diptych! Katharine Haake, whose CNF diptych I mention, works in this format with short fiction, as well. I hope you enjoy the rabbit holes, Marie, and thanks for reading!

      Reply

  9. DeBonis Karen
    February 15, 2019

    I hadn’t heard of the diptych form before. Believe it or not, I learned of it on Twitter, with a link to this page! I have a few dozen essay ideas waiting to be developed. I’ll try this form and see what happens. Thanks for a wonderful post!

    Reply

    • Nicole Breit
      March 22, 2019

      That’s great, Debonis – glad to hear Twitter led you to my essay! Best of luck with your exploration of the diptych form. I’d love to hear how it goes!

      Reply

  10. kathybjones
    February 28, 2019

    Excellent suggestions and great links and prompts. It reminded me of a prompt I’d been given in a workshop to write an object prose poem, creating two paragraphs about the object that were seemingly unrelated avenues toward the object, and then using the final sentence to link them. I suppose it became more of a triptych than a diptych. Thanks for your great sugestions!

    Reply

    • Nicole Breit
      March 22, 2019

      Thank you Kathy, and thanks for sharing the prompt from your workshop. It’s fun to see where creative challenges can lead. Happy writing!

      Reply

  11. Michael Dechane
    November 1, 2020

    What a savory essay! Thank you. I’ve been working on a diptych poem recently and started looking for other examples. I’m grateful for the pointers to Terris, Moore, and Gray, but even more for your fuller reflections on the form and its possibilities. Cheers.

    Reply

    • Nicole Breit
      June 16, 2021

      Thank you so much for your note, Michael. So glad you enjoyed my essay and to hear you are working on exploring the diptych as form for your poetry!

      Reply

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