You'll spend eleven years of your life on your phone.
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Novel: Irresistible by Adam Alter | Goodreads
Release Date: March 7, 2017
Publisher: Penguin Press
Format: eBook
Source: Library

Buy it here.

Welcome to the age of behavioral addiction—an age in which half of the American population is addicted to at least one behavior. We obsess over our emails, Instagram likes, and Facebook feeds; we binge on TV episodes and YouTube videos; we work longer hours each year; and we spend an average of three hours each day using our smartphones. Half of us would rather suffer a broken bone than a broken phone, and Millennial kids spend so much time in front of screens that they struggle to interact with real, live humans.

In this revolutionary book, Adam Alter, a professor of psychology and marketing at NYU, tracks the rise of behavioral addiction, and explains why so many of today's products are irresistible. Though these miraculous products melt the miles that separate people across the globe, their extraordinary and sometimes damaging magnetism is no accident. The companies that design these products tweak them over time until they become almost impossible to resist.

By reverse engineering behavioral addiction, Alter explains how we can harness addictive products for the good—to improve how we communicate with each other, spend and save our money, and set boundaries between work and play—and how we can mitigate their most damaging effects on our well-being, and the health and happiness of our children.

Buy

I got rather obsessed with Adam Alter over the summer, because I devoured his nonfiction. His topics were engaging, and his content pinpointed human behaviors that permeate every aspect of our daily lives. What could be more relevant?

The book itself was delightful and alarming. Alter discusses behavior addiction with such dexterity, and the digital sphere in such depth. It’s not patronizing at all, but rather just curious and illuminating. He does a thorough job cramming in studies and information, while the book itself is fluid and fun to read.

Some of the statistics were absolutely staggering to me, like this one: we’ll spend eleven years of our lives on our phones. Eleven years. (On average, this computes to about three times an hour.)

For students below those of us graduating now, it’s even more.

I don’t demonize technology. For me, it’s connected me to a world of people and interests that I never would have discovered elsewhere — but I also don’t use it socially as much. It’s always felt connected to the curatorial qualities of running my blog, and I’m also enormously picky about photos of myself and others that I put up.

I took a digital detox for mostly personal reasons, but it was helpful. My world felt too small; it was a fear I’d had in the fall that was ultimately confirmed by the winter. Social media can be great in expanding my worldview but at times, it just intensifies it instead. Feeling that, I took a step back for the summer, wanting to just turn my phone off and disappear. 

Later in the summer, there were unexpected benefits, like freshly evaluating my online presence before trying to get a job, and just getting a break from the small town bubble that exists during most of my year. When I’m physically away from school, I prefer to be mentally away as well.

It was the summer of being a terrible communicator, and it was glorious. I had so much time. I was so untethered to any aspects of my identity, because nothing was codified. I got to be much more serendipitous and relaxed without feeling pressured to keep up with anyone or convey any of my experiences to anyone else.

The phone issue isn’t a new one — I read How to Break Up with Your Phone in January and enjoyed the dissection of how addictive technology is — but I always like to check myself. I wouldn’t say I’m any better or worse than anyone my age in how long I spend on my devices in a given day, but I do prioritize nature and get frustrated if I spend too long cooped up, so I try and keep afloat. Stay aware, even if I can’t always act on it as effectively as I’d like.

According to Tristan Harris, a “design ethicist,” the problem isn’t that people lack willpower; it’s that “there are a thousand people on the other side of the screen whose job it is to break down the self-regulation you have.”

One of the reasons this piqued my interest is because of watching people interact with others, especially the middle school girls I mentor, who struggle a bit more to have real world interactions that they can’t quantify in terms of likes. They refer to texts, absent of gestures and intonations that convey nuance. One of the studies discussed in the book talks about how young students will refer to conversations to others as if they occurred face-to-face, not recognizing that virtual interactions lack many of the visual and unconscious cues we use to interpret others, meaning that we’re more likely than ever to misinterpret everything. (A fact made more intense by a recent read I loved about our failures of memory.)

Online interactions aren’t just different from real-world interactions; they’re measurably worse. Humans learn empathy and understanding by watching how their actions affect other people. Empathy can’t flourish without immediate feedback, and it’s a very slow-developing skill. One analysis of seventy-two studies found that empathy has declined among college students between 1979 and 2009.

Most of us dislike being so dependent on our phones, but refer to them out of habit. Irresistible stresses habit formation and behavioral addiction throughout the book.

Human behavior is driven in part by a succession of reflexive cost-benefit calculations that determine whether an act will be performed once, twice, a hundred times, or not at all. When the benefits overwhelm the costs, it’s hard not to perform the act over and over again, particularly when it strikes just the right neurological notes. A like on Facebook and Instagram strikes one of those notes.

I’ve always been a poster rather than a scroller, although I — like most my age — do participate in it a lot. This summer, I loved being completely offline. I only checked my phone to pay rent or update my parents on my (changing) locations. While I wouldn’t say I was exclusively in the moment — still listening and reading often, which has a similar effect of taking me outside of myself — I had a lot more free time and a lot of time to reflect.

Almost everyone — according to Irresistible — guesses their screen use in a given day to be about 50% too low. And young adulthood is when behavioral addictions are most likely to form, because of their soothing effects on our psychological needs.

In many respects, substance addictions and behavioral addictions are very similar. They activate the same brain regions, and they’re fueled by some of the same basic human needs: social engagement and social support, mental stimulation, and a sense of effectiveness. Strip people of these needs and they’re more likely to develop addictions to both substances and behaviors.

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I’m almost finished reading The Four-Dimensional Human: Ways of Being in the Digital World, which focuses on the sort of alternative reality generated by your virtual world — the landscape you enter when you open an app, the mental picture in your mind when you’re texting someone. I’ve always been interested in spatial awareness, as I’m a person heavily influenced by my environment and physical surroundings. Reading philosophy about digital spatiality was fascinating and accurate. Whenever you pick up your phone in the middle of a conversation with someone, you’re essentially leaving your body and existing in that fourth dimension. (It gets a little trippy, but bear with me.)

That concept was shown in a study Alter references in which pairs are studied. Couples, friends, strangers. Even the presence of a phone was disruptive and distracting to how well people connected to each other.

Every pair bonded to some extent, but those who grew acquainted in the presence of the smartphone struggled to connect. They described the relationships that formed as lower in quality, and their partners as less empathetic and trustworthy. Phones are disruptive by their mere existence, even when they aren’t in active use. They’re distracting because they remind us of the world beyond the immediate conversation, and the only solution, the researchers wrote, is to remove them completely.

The book doesn’t only talk about smartphones or laptops, however; it also discusses the implications of fitness tracking and addiction, the neurological feedback loops in video games, and other technologies. I also loved particularly how Irresistible didn’t only focus on technology, but behavioral addiction as a whole, creating a valuable foundation of information about why we like what we like. (I’ve gotten really into reading about taste and pleasure this summer since I’m so fascinated by aesthetic appeal.) The book distinguishes between passions and addictions, between positives and negatives, acknowledging the nuance of technology’s benefits and downfalls.

Irresistible contains a lot of staggering statistics, like:

  • 70 percent of office emails are read within six seconds of arriving.

  • 42% of Americans have struggled with a behavioral addiction in the last 12 months.

  • About 95% of people charge their phones by their beds (and sleep quality has drastically declined because of that.)

  • Up to 59 percent of people say they’re dependent on social media sites and that their reliance on these sites ultimately makes them unhappy. Of that group, half say they need to check those sites at least once an hour.

I love to read statistics, because they solidify concepts in my head so effectively. I love to read about our relationships with the digital sphere because it’s such a huge part of my daily life as a young adult, and Irresistible is the most capable and influential read I’ve devoured so far on the subject. It’s well-written and persuasive without being preachy, and captures the nuances of technology with empathy and grace. Even now, scrolling through quotes, I have dozens that I want to include that will likely crop up later on the blog in additional reads about digital minimalism. For now, I’m missing my unconnected summer, conscious of how long I’m spending writing this blog post and staring at the screen.


grace smith
The Summer in Books!

Hey y’all!

I’m currently writing this on the floor of a dance studio — which, admittedly, is where I’ve spent a majority of my summer. It’s been an absolute dream. Although my prevailing sentiment is that of simply needing more time, there’s never a perfect time to start sharing again.

I love the amount of memory imprinted on each of these books from my travels, and how interconnected they all ended up being to the summer that I had.

As you might notice, it’s pretty devoid of fiction because I’m on a nonfiction kick — and don’t totally feel like reading about many of the conflicts present in most of the fiction that I read! I’ll be back to that soon enough.

I was lucky enough to indulge a lot of my interests this summer, but always ground myself in what I read (although that’s a little different this summer too.) I’m going to go in-depth on many of the reads I mention now as I review and process them, but for now, here’s the overview of the top fifty.

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It doesn’t feel like there’s a particular theme to my reads — other than meaningful or vaguely existential! I went down rabbit holes for particular subjects. Water, musical psychology, urban planning, design, philosophies on kindness, digital minimalism, habits, silence. More on those topics in my next post — as well as links to each of these reads.

What books have y’all read this summer?

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Grace, you look a little different.

Hey y’all!

If you’ve been around for awhile, the site looks VASTLY different from the blue-and-gray, watercolored, cutesy design it’s had for the past five or so years. I recently decided that I needed to elevate it.

If you’re new here, welcome! I’m happy to have you, in what’s a new era of the blog I’ve been running, and loving, since 2011.

The Overview

Words Like Silver is a literary blog with a little bit of lifestyle.

The new branding looks, and feels, a lot more like me. A bit older, a bit cleaner, and with more emphasis on what really matters — the words and content expressed by the reads that I love. It’s more versatile, so I can play around with it and try out different styles. The post editor is also much friendlier towards the types of projects and reflections I’ve been incorporating in my reviews recently. Mood boards will be easier, as well as embedding media like audiobook samples and sounds.

The Breakdown

I recently switched from Wordpress to Squarespace. While I’d never had any issues with Wordpress, I loved the responsiveness of Squarespace, which I got to know through my art blog. Building elements feels so natural, and the drag-and-drop formatting feels a lot like I’m constructing an art project. I’ve never done any more than light coding, but on Squarespace, I can work with CSS without feeling like I’ll derail some integral part of my site.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be cleaning up bits of the transition. Fixing formatting. For example, the import of my Wordpress content left out spaces between periods and the incoming sentence. There’s also an odd lack of a closing parenthesis, so currently I’m writing without parentheses! I’m adjusting images and graphics, and touching up some behind-the-scenes elements like keywords and categorization.

If you read any posts written before May 2019, beware! Tread lightly.

In all seriousness though, I’m excited for how much more I can now convey. I hope that y’all will be patient as I single-handedly pore through and curate all the details of Words Like Silver over the coming days. Hopefully I’ll have it all up to speed soon! I’m also still on a self-imposed digital detox until I go back to school, so my online presence has been minimal.

In the meantime…

Do you like it?

Grace
Spring Reads
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In the spring, I chase pure feelings: the sun on my back, the coolness of slipping into the water, the simple pleasures of being outside, being quiet, being golden.

While those are feelings I should always chase, the weather helps. I get definite spring fever. Since freshman year, I've always found a spot and camped out: on my favorite bench, or on a quilt on one of the commons. I'm my best self when I'm soaking up the good weather.

One of my favorite habits this year has just been going and sitting outside, no phone, no distractions unless I take a book. Forcing myself to have some much-needed mindfulness of just people-watching and absorbing my surroundings. When I do take a book, my preferences drift towards books that are sparse — evoking the pared-down, stripped qualities I love in a summer. Bare, simple, and fresh, while still having enough detail to sweep me away for a little while! I'm definitely going to post more of these as I hunger to read them — for a series — but for now, here are some picks to get you started if you're eager for the same feelings.


Novel: Moonglass by Jessi Kirby | Goodreads
Release Date: May 3, 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

I read once that water is a symbol for emotions. And for a while now, I've thought maybe my mother drowned in both. Anna's life is upended when her father accepts a job transfer the summer before her junior year. It's bad enough that she has to leave her friends and her life behind, but her dad is moving them to the beach where her parents first met and fell in love — a place awash in memories that Anna would just as soon leave under the surface. While life on the beach is pretty great, with ocean views and one adorable lifeguard in particular, there are also family secrets that were buried along the shore years ago. And the ebb and flow of the ocean's tide means that nothing — not the sea glass that she collects on the sand and not the truths behind Anna's mother's death — stays buried forever.

I read this book years ago -- when I first started blogging -- and it's one of the books I think about most often. The main character, Anna, is gentle but still vibrant. Her descriptions of the beach capture the sacred sensations of it, connecting it to family and her own coming-of-age, rather than the glorified bits of it that appear in so-called "beach reads." I read Moonglass for the feeling of being on the beach alone at night, or the cyclical nature of revisiting a place and realizing how much you've changed since you've been there last. It's lovely.


Novel: Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson | Goodreads
Release Date: June 13, 2017
Publisher: HarperCollins

midnight at the electric by jodi lynn anderson

Divided by time. Ignited by a spark.

Kansas, 2065.
Adri has secured a slot as a Colonist—one of the lucky few handpicked to live on Mars. But weeks before launch, she discovers the journal of a girl who lived in her house over a hundred years ago, and is immediately drawn into the mystery surrounding her fate. While Adri knows she must focus on the mission ahead, she becomes captivated by a life that’s been lost in time…and how it might be inextricably tied to her own.

Oklahoma, 1934. Amidst the fear and uncertainty of the Dust Bowl, Catherine fantasizes about her family’s farmhand, and longs for the immortality promised by a professor at a traveling show called the Electric. But as her family’s situation becomes more dire—and the suffocating dust threatens her sister’s life—Catherine must find the courage to sacrifice everything she loves in order to save the one person she loves most.

England, 1919. In the recovery following the First World War, Lenore struggles with her grief for her brother, a fallen British soldier, and plans to sail to America in pursuit of a childhood friend. But even if she makes it that far, will her friend be the person she remembers, and the one who can bring her back to herself?

While their stories spans thousands of miles and multiple generations, Lenore, Catherine, and Adri’s fates are entwined.

When I wrote my review of this book originally, I noted that it was difficult to go into after having read Tiger Lily-- a complex, aching, gorgeous book that's one of my favorites. They're different: Midnight at the Electric is odd and muted but still has the same haunting lines that remind me why Jodi Lynn Anderson will always own me with her words. Although historical fiction (and to a certain extent, science fiction) elements within this book can make it heavy, the quiet lines make it a stunning and relatively quick read that you could lose yourself in during a few hours tucked away on a quilt outside.


Novel: Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour | Goodreads
Release Date: May 15, 2014
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers

A love letter to the craft and romance of film and fate in front of—and behind—the camera from the award-winning author of Hold Still.A wunderkind young set designer, Emi has already started to find her way in the competitive Hollywood film world.Emi is a film buff and a true romantic, but her real-life relationships are a mess. She has desperately gone back to the same girl too many times to mention. But then a mysterious letter from a silver screen legend leads Emi to Ava. Ava is unlike anyone Emi has ever met. She has a tumultuous, not-so-glamorous past, and lives an unconventional life. She’s enigmatic…. She’s beautiful. And she is about to expand Emi’s understanding of family, acceptance, and true romance.

I'm relatively certain I've reread this book every spring term at W&L, because it's so perfect for it: a colorful, poignant read that focuses on a passionate girl and an unsolved Hollywood mystery. The main character, Emi, is thoughtful and balanced, but also endlessly romantic about all the beauty around her. It makes for a compelling read, and it has so much sensory detail that wraps you up and doesn't let go. It's soft, detailed, and sensitive while still feeling larger-than-life.

Which books are your spring go-tos?

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HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, WORDS LIKE SILVER!

If you'd told me that a piece of my identity I created for myself in seventh grade would still exist, I'd probably be very concerned. Looking back, I don't trust my preteen taste.As of today, I've been running Words Like Silver for eight years, and finding the words to describe how I feel is difficult. I want to articulate how much this little blog has gone through, and how amazed I am that it's still one of my favorite pieces of my life. Some years, I let the anniversary pass with little fanfare. Other years, like this one, call for a bit more reflection.Eight years is two student generations. High school, college. So much change that it's comforting to know I have a constant -- something that I exclusively do and work for, that external circumstances can't affect.Despite evolving interests, I am a reader and a writer at heart.It's not that I thought it wouldn't last, when it started. I was in seventh grade though, and started a post-midnight project (as one does), and never expected it to shape so much of my identity.But I'm proud. I've built this site from the ground up, expanded it into a lot of different creative functions and places, and kept it going regardless of what I have going on. I've built a loyal following of readers, a curated aesthetic, and a fierce gratitude for all that's worth loving (and talking about.) And reading continues to be a foundation for me.If you're just popping in to see what's going on today on the blog, welcome, and happy birthday to Words Like Silver! If you're sticking around for my reflection, I have a lot of thoughts on how far it's come.When I started this blog in seventh grade, I was just looking for an outlet.I'd been frustrated, both with feeling like I didn't relate to those around me (a little middle school misery for you) and in being lumped in with my identical twin sister, despite having divergent interests. I'm a passionate person, and that was extremely draining. Most people didn't take me seriously when I talked about my passions because of my age.Additionally, I credit "the twin thing" for a lot more than I used to, because it caused my desire to forge an identity that was solely mine, not related to somebody else. (Even now, I hate when people view us as two halves of one whole, or frame me in relation to Hannah.)I'm still excruciatingly shy -- the quiet twin, always. I'm still intensely driven. Those aspects of my personality haven't changed, but having something that I've built gives me a lot more confidence and the freedom to be independent. (Although having an excuse to hide behind a book or a camera doesn't do much for the introversion.)In 2012, the blog became real when I had a blog post get some traction in the book world and suddenly started getting involved in the publishing industry. I met a lot of people who helped me to develop my voice more and get involved in the behind-the-scenes. Started caring about upcoming years' titles and not just the books that had been on my shelves for ages.I started editing manuscripts, talking to authors, created buzz for upcoming titles, and even helped out with the formation of some elements that made it into real books. (I'm nothing like the main character of this book, but my answers and interviews helped the author to create a blogger teen, and I appreciate having helped with something so tangible.)The blog has never been huge, but I'm affectionate towards the small, loyal community of readers that I have, and I love it so much. I love the feeling of somebody telling me they found a new favorite book because of a post, or getting sucked into a conversation about a book we've both read.My teen years passed. I read a ton. Started moderating a book club for teenagers in my hometown. Worked at a bookstore.I edited a book that made it onto shelves. Saw books published that I'd seen as Publishers Weekly book deals. Advanced copies I'd had hitting the bestseller lists, being turned into movies. Attended conferences and panels and events. Wrote some myself. I thought I'd work in publishing, and although that perspective has now changed, it's responsible for a lot of my growth.Even now, the scope of the history I have with the publishing industry feels surreal, and having my creativity/intensity validated was something I'd needed then.It had always been a hobby rather than a pursuit, but WLS influenced nearly every sphere of my life. I met some of my best friends through blogging (either directly through comments or online interactions, or because it was a reason they recognized me later.) Instead of being a Smith twin, exclusively, I was also "book girl."In 2016, I went to a tiny college (which I'm still attending!) and the blog was the reason I felt comfortable talking to people -- because everyone had shamelessly online stalked each other before heading off to Lexington, and it was an easy way to introduce myself. (In fact, I met one of my best friends when he went up to me the first night and told me I had a typo on my most recent post.) As the years passed and stressors changed, reading felt more like a luxury and I appreciated the ability to be able to sink into a read and widen my perspective.Reading has always been a way for me to keep ahold of my identity. To root myself to what I believe in, and what I love. Escapism or inspiration.One of my favorite quotes by Pablo Neruda captures it well, how much I just love sharing my interests.

“Take it all back. Life is boring, except for flowers, sunshine, your perfect legs. A glass of cold water when you are really thirsty. The way bodies fit together. Fresh and young and sweet. Coffee in the morning. These are just moments. I struggle with the in-betweens. I just want to never stop loving like there is nothing else to do, because what else is there to do?”

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Words Like Silver was the catalyst for a whole host of interests and explorations. I describe it as the umbrella under which I fit all of my creative pursuits, and as the manifestation of all my passions.Fundamentally, I took photos, and talked about books that fascinated me, and taught myself an assortment of skills. I've gotten to work with some phenomenal people, and some lovely brands.Having this blog led me down a rabbit hole of creative activity. I wholeheartedly fell in love with lettering, with art, with hunting for coffeeshops. Got really into design, in a ton of different spheres. I developed a new appreciation for anything well-curated, whether that was a brand or a space or even just a person so wholly himself or herself that everything they do just feels so spot-on. I love the niche of distinctive voices, and I love that sharing keeps me grateful.It's all been a natural evolution, a series of changes I never particularly noticed until they were so fully ingrained in my identity that I couldn't imagine being anything else.I read. Make happy lists. Write often. Save up for plane tickets and just wander through places when I can. Take photos. I pick up instruments, and create art, and dance way too much for someone who no longer dances. Everything about the way that I am is directly related to loving forms of art and media. I throw myself into projects and hobbies, and keep forging ahead independently, and I (of course) write about it on here.I have no plans to ever stop writing. I assume that one day I'll just feel like it's time to let this little site go, but that day hasn't come yet. It's my platform, and it keeps me going.This post is a lot of then-and-now. When I started, books were my thing. I'd come home from school, do my homework, go to lacrosse or dance, and then come home and read until I fell asleep.Now, I'm spread across a lot more activities on campus (although I'm giving myself a real, full senior year!) and prioritize time with people more than I did. My family's made up of readers, so in my hometown, it was a lot easier to get away from distractions. At school, I'm aware of how little time I have there and how many different pieces of it I want to try.I've branched out into coverage of a lot more of what makes me a person. I'm passionate about books, and those will always be my foundation, but I'm much more comfortable talking about other things I love too: places, music, foods and drinks, shops, publications.Because WLS has built a lot of the way I operate -- my organization, philosophies, interests, priorities -- I have no doubt that my future career and life will incorporate a lot of the lessons I've learned from running this little place. The aesthetic I've curated or instinctively developed in my years of collecting, creating, and posting. I just want to be kind and smart and work hard, and the blog helps. Reading builds empathy and gives you perspective. Reading teaches me so much, and allows me to explore other interests. And blogging proves to me how much I can do if I keep my head down and put my mind to it.I'm hoping to end up working in content creation of some kind. Or social media. Or design. Something that incorporates all the elements of running WLS that I love.

I love to crunch the numbers, especially on anniversaries, because it lends more weight to the idea of EIGHT FULL YEARS inside my head. I've been writing on here for a long time.It's been 8 years. I've read 1652 books, approximately.(You can see more by stalking any of my "Read in" pages in my header, for given years.) Written 825 blog posts. My blog's been read by over 150,000 people. I've written two manuscripts myself, and an uncountable number of poems and stories. And we're still rolling.Although it's something I've thought about, especially on Instagram, verbalizing an aesthetic always feels odd. I'm shameless about my use of the word, because it's the most apt description of what I love to chase: distinctness. Beauty in the little things. I love the elements of intention incorporated into styling -- whether it's food in a restaurant, or a gorgeous piece of design, or a book photo.Because I'm trying to do use my creative energy for a career, I started an art portfolio website, full of mood boards, my style, and my pieces. Because it's been eight years and I'm overdue for a personal audit, I'm going to review a lot of the way I unconsciously structure my Instagram.On it, I discussed my aesthetic as including evocative words, romantic styling, and "fond references to nature." The filters I gravitate towards are vibrant and underexposed, with bold colors surrounded by browns and greens. As a whole, I aim to spotlight anything that makes my mind race -- usually books with a tinge of existentialism.My aesthetic, in some ways, goes back to my happy lists.

bookscoffee & pretty beveragesthe woodsFLOWERSlightsreflectionsroads & nomadic imagescozy chaosscrawled words, collage, that crafted touch!

While there are some aspects of my visual taste that remain constant, at times I'll notice trends weaving their way through my photos. For example, I've noticed that most of the photos I've posted in the past few months have a glow to them: the fading sun, or a light leak. When I'm at camp, my photos are all green-tinted and full of foliage -- and paint and clay, from teaching my activities. When I'm in Canada, it's all dark wood and golden hours on the porch. Although my social media is curated, it feels authentic to who I am and what I prioritize. It's not glitzy, unless I'm posting travel photos of places that took my breath away. I fully embrace the embarrassment of staging props for a photo in front of my friends. (It's also easier to maintain a genuine perspective when I'm posting words, because I feel like I can tamper those images down more if necessary.) I like having photos for memories, but try not to let that desire creep into the moment itself; some elements of my life are too precious for interruption.Although I'm drawn to capturing beautiful images and moments, life is also bumpy, and I never want to make it seem like it's picturesque. As a person though, I usually keep a rosy perspective -- I'm an optimist at heart. I'm conscious of the separation between posting beautiful photos and the assumption of an exemplary life.Recently, I haven't been posting as many book photos (because I've been reading a ton of ebooks from the library) and that's a way my feed has changed. I still struggle to articulate what exactly about my Instagram makes it "Grace" -- saturated colors, vibrant textures, my penchant for captions with back slashes --  and how to use it as I start in the workforce!Still, it's one of my favorite spaces. I love to talk about books, clearly, and I love being able to capture moments of beauty that are satisfying to me. It's the same feeling I get when I go back to read my journals, or stumble across a quote that perfectly articulates a feeling or sensation that I thought would be impossible to preserve. That, at the end of the day, is what WLS is all about.At the end of the day, thank you to everyone who's been there for me through it. Who's supported me as I've been a stubborn, introverted workaholic. Who's given me a leg up in pursuing my interests. Everyone who's read a book I've talked about in an Instagram caption or blog post! And all the people I love personally, who put up with the intensity and appreciate the existential book talks, the sneak-reading, the quick photographs. I love you all for it.Cheers to eight years of Words Like Silver, and hopefully many more.