The Chronicles of Nonia — Issue #2

Hi everyone, and welcome to Issue #2 of the Chronicles of Nonia. Thank you for your patience as I get up to speed using this new Revue by Twitter platform and test out its various features.

I haven’t decided yet on a publication schedule, but it likely will be on a monthly rather than weekly or bimonthly basis. So, beginning in March or April of 2021 you can expect to find a newsletter filled with reviews, profile pieces, and useful links about how non-binary writers, artists, outdoor enthusiasts, environmental activists, and small business entrepreneurs can gain greater online recognition for their work.

I am also compiling a Google Sheets manifest of gender non-binary people who fit into one or more of those above categories for sharing purposes. This will help us get a better sense of our numbers and enable us to coordinate our actions in the future. Please contact me by email on social media if you’d like your name and contact information — along with links to your work — to be added to the list.

Finally, I have started to draft an eight-point Non-Binary Bill of Rights on my Medium author’s page (link below). Please feel free to look it over and send me your feedback and suggestions for inclusion and improvement.

This Issue features a great retrospective review of Ani DiFranco’s 2017 album, Binary. She’s got a new album out right now and is touring. Check it out if you can: she’s awesome live and live-streamed as well!

Thank you for your time. Namaste. Trust

~Brett

Making Their Rights Known

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Read writing from Brett Winters on Medium. I am a gender non-binary writer and founder of the eco-consultancy, sempervirens117.com. I live and work in the Santa Cruz Mountains, outside of Silicon Valley.

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CD and Digital available now. Due to Covid related delays in the manufacturing of vinyl, we anticipate those orders will not ship until March 2021. All vinyl purchases will be provided with a digital download of the album. CD: Gatefold jacket + 8 page bookletLP: Gatefold jacket 140gram double vinyl (black) in black p

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Ani Di Franco’s 2017 album, Binary, on CD.
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This is Ani’s record label. She started it herself.

Music for Non-Binaries

A Non-Binary Take on Ani DiFranco’s album, Binary (2017).

The numbers don’t lie, Ani; I did the math. This album is an act of transmogrification.

Ani, it really does pencil out. Great artists frequently do their best, most transformational work in their mid to late 40s. The fans often fail to appreciate the originality and maturity of the resulting work, having grown up on the angrier, messier, melodically strident music from decades earlier, but the numbers simply do not lie. Admittedly, they don’t tell the truth, either. But they reveal underlying patterns that the human ear cannot detect, because we often listen to music through the filter of our emotions, and those tend to be calibrated when we are in our relative youth. These 40-something albums aren’t always the most iconic, or the best selling, but they endure and linger in memory long after the first batch of listenings and performances are over.

Consider the following examples, taken from my personal pantheon of top rock, pop, or folk artists who each managed miraculous feats of transmogrification before turning 50. Mark Knopfler’s first solo album, “Golden Heart,” was released when he was 47. Bruce Springsteen — who is born on the SAME day as you (September 23) — released “The Ghost of Tom Joad” when he was 46. You Libras, you really have it rough, don’t you?

Tracy Chapman’s incomparable album, “Our Bright Future,” was released when she was 44; “100 Miles from Memphis,” my favorite Sheryl Crow album in recent memory, came out when she was turning 48. And even Madonn’a largely misunderstood album, “American Life,” came out when she 45 years of age. Talk about a reinvention, even by the Material Girl’s extreme, shape-shifting standards.

So, you see; I do indeed have a point. These numbers simply don’t lie. And so we come to “Binary.” It’s not your typical Righteous Babe record, is it? Surely by the time of release, you were well into drafting your memoir, No Walls and the Recurring Dream (2019). You probably had already moved to New Orleans, and you had kids. The percussive style of syncopated acoustic guitar playing that was your trademark when you were in your 20s and 30s (along with your shaved head) isn’t present here. Instead, there are some amazingly talented musicians accompanying you on every track, especially Terence Higgins (drums), Todd Sickafoose (bass), Ivan Neville (keyboards, piano, organ), Sherik (saxophone), and Jenny Sheinman (violin), plus backup vocalists and other players on trumpet, trombone, the clarinet, and more. Wow! It’s like a real band, now. No more shocking performances with just you and Andy and a crowd of adoring fans looking to score with you after the set was over.

I like the new Ani who sings on this album. It’s true, I needed to consult the liner notes frequently to decipher most of your lyrics, since there was a lot of sonic stuff going on in the background, and you weren’t really enunciating the words the way you did when you were younger, spewing them out like some sort of flower-powered assault rifle into the darkness of a smoke-filled room. Eventually, I got used to it. I felt the funk. I admired the ensemble performance and deep musicality. Soon, I figured out the themes that still are at the ragged edge of your restless mind. Patriarchy and the latest male President; a woman’s Goddess-given right to choose; love as a constant challenge and questioning of age, ardor, and beauty; poetic, Dada-esque wordplay as you rage gently and at times disconsolately against the senseless violence and judgments of an illusion-soaked world; technology and the ways it divides and objectifies us all into packets of commodified data; the death penalty and the imminence of untimely ending of incarcerated lives. Somewhere in all of that labyrinth, I think that there is room for fun and fancy-free explorations of friendship, affection, loyalty, trust, and tenderness (“Even More” is like this). Time to smile, laugh, and hug a child. Kiss a butterfly. Touch the void. And cast your fate to the wind.

So, Ani, l return to the numbers. They don’t lie. You are now beyond 50 years of age. You’ve published a memoir. You’ve released this transformative album that clearly isn’t like those that came before. You give interviews to the NYTimes and recommend books we all should be reading. I’m actually reading The Tao of Pooh, by Benjamin Hoff, at the moment, and David Abram is waiting in the wings when I have more energy. Let me recommend Pam Houston’s memoir, Deep Creek: Finding Hope in High Country (2019), to you as well. And maybe Vicki Myron’s Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat who Touched the World , a classic from 2008 that you could read to your children (have the tissue box ready). More animals, and maybe more nature, that’s all I wish for you at this stage of your life’s journey. And the invitation from my Amazon review of “Canon” still stands. We don’t have any sasquatches in the redwoods, but we do have banana slugs and quails and bunnies and lots of singing, growing, shining precious things. You could do worse than all of that. Thanks, friend, for the courage to try, to struggle, to suffer, to worry, to rage, to pontificate, to strive, and never to yield. I hope eventually you will discover the stillness you so clearly seek.

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Artwork inside the CD of Binary.
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Songs on Binary — note that this is a public library copy from San Mateo, California.

Making Their Voices Heard

One of the best ways to make non-binary voices heard is by breaking into the mainstream media. Simply putting pictures on Instagram is not enough. Please consider writing a 500-word essay on why you decided to come out as non as send it to a major magazine or newspaper, such as the Washington Post (see link below). Even if they reject your submission, that’s fine. They need to know we exist and aren’t afraid to fail. Good luck.

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If you’d like to submit your own op-ed about the decision to come out as gender non-binary — as I did this past February — please consider doing so. The Washington Post would be a great place to share your story with your fellow citizens and help to “Make Americans Great Again.”

Making Their Planet Whole

Gender non-binary outdoor enthusiasts, environmental activists, and small business entrepreneurs can work together to reach voices in Silicon Valley and elsewhere to help make the plant a better, more integral place free from binary choices. I founded a company (link below) that offers team training excursions into nature in the Santa Cruz Mountains, California and helps tech companies design greener products while also supporting sustainable ways of living using their social media platforms. If you think that you’d like to tell someone you know who works in Silicon Valley about it, please have them visit my web site or contact me directly. Thank you! Namaste.

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Being Green is Easier Than You Think. Begin the Journey Now Sempervirens means “always green.” That is the commitment we make to our clients. As an independent voice, we put the planet’s needs ahead of their personal desires for profit. We let them decide which matters more after that.Brett Winters, Founder Contemplation How can we learn…

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The week in newsletters — A weekly update for newsletter editors and audience managers, sent every Tuesday morning in the US, afternoon in Europe, and evening

I am a gender non-binary writer and founder of the eco-consultancy, sempervirens117.com. I live and work in the Santa Cruz Mountains, outside of Silicon Valley.

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