Really Useful Engines


By: Connor Lenahan

For all of 2014 I have been able to post an article every single day. This is incredibly fun and rewarding for me to do, as I felt I’ve grown as a writer and as a person going through this exercise. It’s truly fantastic to have to challenge myself to find something new to talk about every day. What’s great is that most of the time I just get to write about the things I love.

While a lot of the posts I’ll put up are simply reactions to the news of the day or the only worthy idea I can come up with before I fall asleep there are certainly a bunch of articles that mean a great deal to me on a personal level. A few weeks ago I finally published an article about my love of Thomas the Tank Engine, a piece I had been working on in my head for months beforehand. I was going to be delighted if anyone read it, but that was entirely secondary. I just wanted to talk about something so near and dear to my heart and my childhood.

Not long after I posted it I got comments from many people I know about how they loved the story. I felt great being able to share such a meaningful part of my life with those around me.

I also decided to reach out to one of my favorite destinations in this eternal wonderland we call the internet – Sodor Island. They are the home to the greatest content about Thomas the Tank Engine in the world. Everything from episode guides, to behind the scenes stories, to interviews with the people behind the show, and beyond. I emailed the man behind the site, Ryan, to thank him for making the site something that I would often visit to reminisce about such a bright part of my childhood. I have gone on Sodor Island for years now and spent countless hours learning everything I can about the show.

I also included a link to the article for Ryan figuring that he, of all people, would understand the love for the little blue tank engine.

Let’s fast forward to today.

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Yes, that is me, Connor the Train, on the front page of the site. That same day the Sodor Island Facebook page posted this:

“When I received Connor’s initial e-mail, praising the work we did with SiFansite, I was touched by his kind words and thoughts.

Then I read his blog entry, which he has never asked me to link, but it was probably one of the most moving and brilliant pieces of writing I’ve seen in a long time. We’ve all got our own personal journey with the little blue tank engine, but this was exceptional.

If you’re doing nothing else – take a look at it and pass it on. Get this thing viral!”

To have something that I have loved for so long be so otherworldly kind to me has been the absolute sweetest thing. I cannot put to words how sweet this all is. I simply wanted to share how much the cheeky #1 on Sir Topham Hatt’s railway has meant to my life. Now I have been able to share that story with others who have also had their life changed by Thomas.

This is why I love my life. I can share something so personal and meaningful to me with the world and have the world give me a high five back.

Never doubt that there are great things in this world. If you keep your head up, keep working, and stay positive, you will be a really useful engine. Along the way, your tracks will cross with other really useful engines as well, and everything will be perfect. Just like it is tonight for me.

Connor Lenahan (@ConnorLenahan) is a sophomore at Boston University, majoring in journalism.