This is Nicholas A. Ferrell, editor and Acting Administrator of The New Leaf Journal (an online writing site) reporting to you for the 24th edition of The Newsletter Leaf Journal, our official newsletter. If you have forgotten about us, you can read all about us on the new and up-to-date version of our About page. If you have questions, we may have answered them in our new FAQ page. In related news, I’m tired.
In addition to rewriting our About page and adding an FAQ and an experimental Glossary, I posted five articles since I reported to you last.
I had a busy week working on an L-1A nonimmigrant visa petition cover letter. If you don’t know what that means, you’re better for it. When I’m busy with real life, it can be a bit difficult to sit down and write a long article that will require editing and careful formatting.
Fortunately, I have Justin and Justina, two imaginary friends, to turn to for content when time is short. On Monday, I posted my eleventh Justin and Justina dialogue, using an 1899 poem on how to evade death if your clothing catches on fire as the prompt. I had originally planned to use that poem for a stand-alone post (I noted that in last week’s newsletter), but I ultimately decided that it would be best used in the hands of Justin and Justina.
Justin and Justina was our first article series to reach 12 entries. Later in the week, it was joined by my series in the January 1897 issue of Birds: Illustrated By Color Photography, which I completed with the final two articles.
The first of the two bird articles covered the “Golden Oriole.” This sounds simple enough, but what is the “Golden Oriole”? Today, “Golden Oriole” is a name for the Eurasian Oriole, but the 1897 article in Birds was clearly discussing an American oriole. After some research, I determined that the oriole in question was most likely the bird known today as the “Orchard Oriole.”
The final article from the Birds magazine covered several poems that appeared in the issue. I had originally considered including poems with their corresponding bird articles, but I ultimately decided to reserve them for a stand-alone piece. While I’m not sure that any of the poems will win awards, they’re all charming and serve as a nice way to bring the magazine coverage to a close.
(Aside: Do you see what I did with the title of this edition of The Newsletter Leaf Journal?)
In the future, I will likely cover some content from subsequent issues of Birds, although I will probably not write about a single issue from beginning to end like I did with the January 1897 issue. Regarding the inaugural January 1897 series, I may augment it down the line if I discover some relevant information about any of the birds that I covered.
This morning, I published the Around the Web post for the week. Because yesterday was the first day of spring, I saw fit to collect materials from around the web (and around The New Leaf Journal) on the subject of spring. You will find dictionary entries, children’s literature, regular literature, poetry, naturalist accounts, flower guides, anime, and video games. Let no one say that I did not cover all the bases. I even included some very aesthetic flower illustrations.
Finally, I happened to be outside when it unexpectedly snowed for 3-5 minutes in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, earlier this week. Since the stars had to align for me to witness the peculiar scene, I decided to memorialize the strange event here at The New Leaf Journal.
I noted several changes that I made to the site at the top of this newsletter. Most importantly, I re-drafted our About Page from top to bottom. It now includes a selection of nine articles that I think are representative of the variety of content that we cover.
In addition to the new About Page, I added an FAQ page to preemptively answer questions that new visitors may have about the site.
Finally, I am working on an experimental Glossary - you can currently access it from the header menu. The Glossary will list terms that appear in New Leaf Journal articles and offer links to those articles. I have already added a good number of entries. There is but one problem with the Glossary, however - it loads slowly. It does seem to work well once it actually loads - but I am a bit concerned that a page that takes 5 seconds to load may be counterproductive. I will monitor the page as I add to it and ultimately decide down the line whether it is worth keeping. Maybe I need a trigger warning for it?
Working in markdown formatting in Buttondown inspired me to try markdown for other purposes. For that, I decided to try Zettlr after some brief research. It worked perfectly for work once I figured out how to manage file directories.
Zettlr itself was not the discovery I want to focus on here. Instead, I discovered an interesting WordPress trick.
For those of you who have never worked in WordPress for writing, WordPress uses the “Gutenberg” block editor by default. In short, content is organized into different blocks. For example, paragraphs and photos in my article are “blocks.”
Gutenberg is intuitive, but it has a major flaw for anything that requires indents. It doesn’t allow indenting by default. It is not possible even in the “preformatted” and “verse” blocks, which respect your formatting (I usually use verse blocks for poetry). After researching the matter, I discovered that I was not the first to have complained about this issue.
Copying poems with indentation from Libre Office Write and text editors into verse blocks does not work well, each for a different reason. Thus, I have been using the space bar to create “indents” for poems that need them. Today, I discovered that if you copy text with indentations from a markdown editor into the verse or preformatted block, it actually formats correctly (I copied from plain text to markdown to WordPress). Who knew? Now, I only tried it with a poem stanza that had very simple indentations, so I am not sure if more complex structures may present problems. But at the moment, I consider this an exciting discovery.
Due to having been busy, my co-writer Victor’s progress on video game design slowed a bit over the past few months. I am happy to report that he is back in the swing of things now, and I tested a demo of his new survival-horror game design that worked quite well. He is currently reworking it after taking suggestions from me and a friend. Once his miniature game is complete, we will make it available for download from The New Leaf Journal.
I’ll leave the newsletter here for today. I look forward to getting some rest and then finding some new interesting topics for another week of content.
Until next week.