March was the busiest month at The New Leaf Journal by a wide margin, and I expect that it will remain so for a long time to come. What was so unique about March? Below, I will explain the reason for our increase in traffic, note some of the highlights of our March content, detail the improvements that I made to The New Leaf Journal during the month, and finally preview what you will have to look forward to as we march (pun intended) into April.

View Count Hacks

Frequent visitors to the site may have noticed that my February 21, 2021 article titled “Around the Web 〜 RSS as a Facebook Alternative” has been our most-viewed article over a two-week period for a while now. The reason for this is that on March 8, 2021, this article graced the top 10 of Hacker News, which led to an unprecedented avalanche of visitors to The New Leaf Journal. I discussed this unexpected event in the March 14, 2021 edition of The Newsletter Leaf Journal, which you can read here.

A photo of two shrubs in planters in front of an apartment building on Montague Street, Brooklyn
Some plants were doing just fine even before things warmed up in March – I took this photo with the Open Camera App on my Motorola Moto e6 phone in Downtown Brooklyn

Content From the March That Was

This post is our 27th and final article for March 2021. I humbly recommend reading all of the articles. Because you can find all of the content in our March 2021 archive, I will use this section to list just a few of my personal favorites.

On Bad Social Media Content

ATW 〜 Murakami on Bad Social Media Content

I have made big tech social media a regular punching bag here at The New Leaf Journal. On March 7, I discussed the issues through a prompt from the renowned contemporary novelist, Haruki Murakami.

An Unforgettable Flower

How the Forget-Me-Not Flower Found Its Name

On March 11, I covered a charming moral poem about the forget-me-not flower. Inspired, I did a bit of research into how the forget-me-not flower actually earned its name.

The Warm Colors of Coolidge’s Recollection

Calvin Coolidge Describes His Mother, Victoria

I had been meaning to write an article about former President Calvin Coolidge’s beautiful recollections of his mother in his 1929 autobiography for some time. I finally did so on March 13.

The Moon is Beautiful, Isn’t It?

ATW 〜 The Mystery of Sōseki and Tsuki ga Kirei

In the second longest article in the short-but-illustrious history of The New Leaf Journal, I compiled a long list of English-language resources on a peculiar story. It is said that Natsume Sōseki, a famous Japanese novelist from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, once translated “I love you” from English to Japanese as “Tsuki ga kirei desune” (“the moon is beautiful, isn’t it?”). Why would he do this? Did it actually happen? Enjoy a long read on the subject.

Productive Reading

An Essay in Productivity, Production, and Productive Leisure

On the 24th, I published a long essay on the subject of productivity. There is too much to cover in a brief description, but the main premise of my article is that the concept of “productivity” should never be divorced from actual production. We begin with some interesting contemporary sources, shift gears to productivity and leisure, and conclude with some thoughts from the great Epictetus.

Continuing Series

Several series continued into March. I posted four Around the Web articles, two of which I linked to in my above article recap. My coverage of the January 1897 issue of Birds: Illustrated By Color Photography reached its end with three new articles. The Justin and Justina dialogue added two dialogues to their running series and made a cameo appearance in an additional article.

New Leaf for The New Leaf Journal Design

I made several notable improvements here at The New Leaf Journal. Below, you will find a list of the major changes.

  • Revised About Page;
  • Added FAQ Page;
  • Moved our newsletter from Tiny Letter to Buttondown;
  • Revamped Newsletter Sign-Up Page;
  • Created Hub Page for our RSS and Atom feeds;
  • Reorganized page and category hierarchies; and
  • Reorganized footer menu.

Not bad, if I say so myself. One of these improvements deserves its own section.

Turning Over a Newsletter Leaf (Pun Intended)

After teasing the change for several weeks, I fully migrated our Newsletter Leaf Journal from Tiny Letter to Buttondown. I am very satisfied with the change. Buttondown is a terrific service, and it makes it possible to produce elegant newsletters while maintaining a neat archive.

There is only one problem.

We want more subscribers and followers.

If you like what we are doing here at The New Leaf Journal, please consider subscribing to or following our newsletter. We send new newsletters on Sundays. Each newsletter recaps the articles from the previous week and includes some additional content that you will only find in the newsletter.

Our site has a new and improved Newsletter Sign-Up page that displays our sign-up options.

For those who do not like email newsletters, you can also follow our newsletter via RSS. Simply put this link into your preferred feed reader, and you can follow the newsletter without another email in your inbox. What is an RSS reader? I discussed that subject in detail here on site.

If you want to see what our newsletter is like before subscribing, you can read our past issues. Please note that all of the newsletters prior to March 14 were ported to Buttondown from Tiny Letter. In the conversion, the old newsletters lost their images. I may re-add the missing images in the future, but it is not a high priority for me at the moment.

Marching into April

March was a busy month, but I hope to make April a better one here at The New Leaf Journal. Our one-year anniversary approaches on April 27, 2020.

At the moment, I do not have any major changes to the site planned. I took care of most of what I hoped to take care of in the near term over the past month.

I previewed some of my plans for new content in the April 28 edition of The Newsletter Leaf Journal. Since writing the Newsletter, I was able to download several translated Japanese visual novels from the mid-2000s that I had been struggling with for a while. Expect to see me begin what promises to be an interesting and long series of reviews in April.

Finally, we may see some new content from my colleague, Victor V. Gurbo, after he was sidelined in March with work.

The Final March

Thank you as always for reading and following The New Leaf Journal. If you enjoy our content, be sure to follow us. What are the best ways to do that? I personally recommend bookmarking our homepage and considering our various feeds if you use a feed reader. I noted our newsletter earlier in this post. Although we are not very active on social media, I list our various social media presences in our new FAQ page, which I will keep updated.

I look forward to reporting back to you after what promises to be an exciting month of content in April.