Writing

Often Zhan

1 minute read

This is a letter for the new writers in a magazine that I am revitalizing. I wanted to share it with you.

Dear writers and editors,

I am very excited to begin this project of starting The Messenger after around a decade of hiatus. This is an opportunity for both mature and novice writers to apply their skills and their interests in something that can benefit others for years to come.

I am honored to be part of this long-standing tradition, and I hope that we can work together in harmony for the sake of building leaders and for using our skills as students and working adults to help fulfill the great commission.

If you have an idea, whether it is well thought-out or inchoate, we welcome those ideas.

Sincerely,
Often Zhan

Often Zhan

3 minute read

Even before writing this blog, I purposely made it a point for it to not devolve into a pen review blog. Not that pen review blogs are bad persay. If you do not know me, I like pens. A lot. So much that it becomes a productivity black hole. As a result, I do not go out of my way to look for the perfect pen because I’ve always placed a higher emphasis on content over products.

However, this particular post is a little different. As a spur of inspiration, I’ve decided to break my vow of silence just because of how much I love Muji gel pens. They write smoother than any other gel pen I’ve come across (other than the Pentel Energels) and, well… they just make me happy.

To give a bit of backstory, I ran out of ink in all my gel pens about half a year ago and never came around to buying new ones. I own so many cheap ballpoint pens (BIC pens, free pens found in banks and hotels) that I decided, “Good enough for me. I’ll use up these pens first before I buy new ones.” However, no matter how prolific I write, these rollerball never seem to die. They last forever. AND they multiply. Three months ago, I owned 53 bic pens alone, but when I counted how many pens I owned today, they mysteriously multiplied to become 72 pens.

I know this was not an accounting error because I’ve begun to store my dead pens in a little tin box as a sort of ‘war prize’. I’ve coined this box: ‘the pen graveyard’. Over the past three months, I’ve used up at least 7 pens, so the number should have decreased. My guess is that someone put more pens in my pen container, yet I do not know who would do that…

My older brother, MZ, moved in about a week ago, and while I was walking through his room, I discovered a red Muji 0.5 pen out in the wild. So… I just took it. Yes, I’m a thief, AND I DON’T REGRET IT. (I hope he doesn’t read this blog post.)

Oh the joy of a Muji Pen. The matte finish. The smooth writing and flowing ink. When I first sat down to write something, I wrote, “This is a test of a red 0.5 Muji gel pen,” and somehow the pen spurred into overdrive, and by the end of 3 minutes, I had already written on both sides of the page as well as revisions and side commentary on the margins.

The next day, I decided to go out of my way to Palo Alto to buy a set of new set of Gel Pens.

After having a brand new spankin’ set of pens, I secretly placed MZ’s pen back onto his desk. I was considering replacing the pen I stole with a BIC pen, but dismissed the thought; I’m a thief, but I’m not a monster.