Descanso Creatives Writers' Retreat 2021
Vintage Oaks Farm, Wimberley, Texas
The Art of the Finish: From Inspiration to Publication
September 20th - September 24th, 2021
Descanso Retreat Leaders
Nathan Brown, Ph.D.
Author, Poet, Songwriter
Nathan Brown is an author, songwriter, and award-winning poet living in Wimberley, Texas. He holds a Ph.D. in English and Journalism from the University of Oklahoma where he taught for seventeen years. He served as Poet Laureate for the State of Oklahoma in 2013/14, and now travels fulltime performing readings and concerts, teaching workshops and speaking on creativity, poetry, songwriting, and creative writing.
Nathan has published roughly nineteen books. Most recent are An Honest Day’s Confession; Apocalypse Soon: The Mostly Unedited Poems of Ezra E. Lipschitz; and Don’t Try, a collection of co-written poems with Austin Music Hall of Fame songwriter, Jon Dee Graham. Karma Crisis: New and Selected Poems, was a finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize and the Oklahoma Book Award. His earlier book, Two Tables Over, won the 2009 Oklahoma Book Award.
He’s taught memoir, songwriting, performance, and creativity workshops from Tuscany to the Sisters Folk Festival in Oregon, the Taos Poetry Festival, the Woody Guthrie Festival, Laity Lodge, the Everwood Farmstead Foundation in Wisconsin, as well as for Blue Rock Artist Ranch near Austin, Texas.
Naomi Shihab Nye said about Nathan’s book, My Salvaged Heart: “Brave new world! The sizzle of couplings and uncouplings – attraction and romance, ineffable magnetism, mysterious as ever – but doused with a savory dose of Nathan Brown humor, a tilted long-ranging eye that sees the next bend in the road even when he’s standing right here, firmly planted.” For more about Nathan, click here.
Ashley Brown is a freelance writer and editor, working for two magazines serving the Texas Hill Country as well as editing for Penguin Random House and personal clients. She teaches remotely for the University of Oklahoma through the College of Professional and Continuing Studies. Her first book, Letters to the Daughter I’ll Never Have, was a runner-up in the San Francisco Book Festival Awards, a finalist in the Foreword INDIES Book Awards, and received an honorable mention from the New York Book Festival. She’s also been published by The Huffington Post, Women Writers/Women’s Books, and more. Her Masters in Liberal Studies has served her well.
Ashley grew up in Houston, where she taught high school English for seven years after graduating from Washington University in St. Louis. She and her husband, author Nathan Brown, live in Wimberley, Texas with their cattle dog and two cats.
In addition to being a devoted mom to her animals, Ashley volunteers for the local animal shelter writing bios for adoptable cats and dogs to help find them homes. She dreams of someday starting her own sanctuary for animals most in need of safety and care. Very unofficially, she’s a runner, yogi, photographer, tree-hugger, gardener, music-lover, day-tripper, magic-seeker, horse-rider, and little kid in the body of grown woman. For more about Ashley, click here.
Ashley Brown, MA
Freelance Writer and Editor
Content Coordinator, Wimberley Living
Editor, Mezcalita Press
Eileen S. (“Chick”) Morgan, Ph.D.--Descanso Director of Programs
Chick Morgan, Descanso Creatives Director of Programs, is there to ensure the smooth running through our day-to-day magic as we journey through the week. She will join Nathan and Ashley to complete the trio of published writers who will lead this retreat.
Musician in Residence
Dirje Childs, MS, LPC, CMP
"The Grateful Cellist"
Dirje Childs, The Grateful Cellist, is a freelance improvisational musician who has enhanced the work of artists in the studio and on the road, both nationally and internationally. She is known for her ability to craft parts in the moment. A composer performing and recording original music, she has produced two CDs.
Dirje is also a licensed professional counselor and skilled trainer with 26-plus years of experience with groups and individuals across a variety of clinical settings. She enjoys designing and leading soulful retreats, workshops and seminars with her cello, related to the call to a peaceful and artful life. Recently she has begun collaborating with visual artists, creating music to companion works in galleries.
Certified as a Music Practitioner, she takes her cello into hospitals and facilities to encourage healing and calm. She is currently an MFA candidate in Music Composition at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Learn more about Dirje and sample her music, click here.