Bottles & Books
by Christina Fain
One day during our state’s stay-at-home order, I realized I had been on social media all day. Not just a little bit but all day. My brain became filled with angst, negativity, and downright sadness. Reading headlines and trolling comments made anxiety flare and let fear set in. I was starting to feel a kind of unease I had no way of controlling. Or maybe I did.
During my extended screen time, I ran across a pay-it-forward Facebook group. Someone once told me the best thing to do when you are feeling down is to do something for someone else. I then realized what I needed to do to keep my spirits up. So I started one of these groups, and “Bottles and Books” came into being. I created a space where women could celebrate their individuality. The premise of Bottles and Books was to invite women who enjoyed both wine and books—the perfect combination.
I am an avid reader, but I sometimes have to put aside this passion for more pressing daily activities. I now realized, though, that by not taking the time to read, I was depriving myself. Reading had always been my escape. If there was ever a time to need an escape, it is now during these trying times.
There is a winery close by, so the topic of wines is commonplace in the area. Finding women to discuss new wines would be an easy mission.
The group now consists of 50 members. When each one joins, she provides a personal bio describing her wine preference and what books she likes to read. Each then commits to participate with a pay-it-forward attitude. After meeting one another on-line, these women scour their bookshelves and shop for bottles of wine with the intent of gifting them to another member of the group. These treasures get packaged and secretly placed on the porch of unsuspecting members. The outpouring of gratitude resulting from this group has been amazing.
As a moderator, I have enjoyed watching the group grow, not in numbers, but in friendships and appreciation for one another. These women thoughtfully give one another indulgences chosen explicitly for them. The group now hosts book discussions, book recommendations, wine tasting discussions, and plans for winery tours. The heartening interaction has allowed new friendships to form and has enhanced the lives of all the group’s members.
These times are uncertain and downright overwhelming, but there are now 50 women shining a light on darker days, book in hand, a glass of merlot nearby.
Photo by Jamie Coupaud (Seattle)
Tina began creative writing at a young age. Professionally, she has written for legal professionals spanning more than 20 years. As an over-thinker, mother of two, she draws her inspiration from her adult son and much younger daughter, as well as her personal experiences trying to navigate life’s beautiful complications. When not writing, she spends her time reading, hiking with her family and planning her next travel adventure.