What’s in a name?


My name.

In Dutch dialect it means ‘writer’.

I like that. I’ve always liked that.

Still, when I married in 1997 I decided to take my husband’s name.

I didn’t give it that much thought, really. It was just something most people do, so why not?

It wasn’t until a few years later, when we moved to the United States, that I ran into problems.

My passport uses my maiden name, with the mention of my husband’s name. My signature is still in my maiden name. And at the DOT they didn’t like that.

I had to either change my name or change my signature. In the spur of the moment I choose to change back my name to the one I was born with.

I remember the hours I spent in middle school perfecting my signature. Comparing it to those of my friends, perfecting it with loops and lines. My signature: it is part of me, part of who I am and who I became.


From that day on, I started using my maiden name more and more. In honor of my husband (whom I still love and am married to!) I tried hyphenating both my names. But as both names are long, and for here, quite unusual, I would run out of space while filling out forms, one of the names would be abbreviated and that just looked silly, it was just too much. Too much name.

It turned out that ‘Schriever’ was better to pronounce than ‘Korstanje’. The UPS-guy called me ‘Mrs. Schwartzenegger’, as she is named ‘Shriver’. Kind of sounds the same anyway. I didn’t mind that!

And now, I can finally honor my name the way I wanted it about 30 years ago: I can call myself a writer. With participation in a Poetry/Art project, a few published translations, a (yet to be published, but finished) book and a blog in Maine’s paper, I feel I am ready.

Here you go! (Written by the one with the ‘writer’ name)

Edith Schriever

About Edith Schriever

I am a Maine-igrant from the Netherlands. While my scientist husband fell in love with the beautiful research institute here, I fell in love with Mount Desert Island. Mountains, ocean, wild life, peace and quiet! A culture change? Yes, a bit. Americans are not at all like the Jerry Springer audience I saw on TV when living in the Netherlands, well, at least not everyone. Portions are big and toilets small and low; I have learned to embrace the cultural differences.