Who am I? I've been known by my married name of Golfer for twenty-odd years. I am the daughter of a Drinker (my father drank for Scotland, I'm afraid) so surely I am by rights a Drinker not a Golfer, now that my husband has died. The name Golfer means nothing to me - most of the time it conjures up an image of the ghastly in-laws - well, mother-in-law to be precise, who herself was widowed young, though not as young as me, and made us suffer for it ever after. Against that has to be measured my long and mostly happy marriage. But I'm not married any more.
When I became widowed it did occur to me that my maiden name might become more natural to me to use, in time. But what attachment did I have to the Drinker? I even thought about calling myself by my mother's maiden name but that meant even less to me. Then the very last member of the Golfer's family died and there was no-one left. If I continued to think of myself as a Golfer, who was I doing it for?
Then yesterday I was browsing the fiction shelves of my local bookshop, and as an aspiring novelist was imagining my blockbuster in its place on the shelf - as you do - and I thought whether I could see it more clearly amongst the Gs as a Golfer or with the Ds for Drinker. And I realised that I wanted it to be there with all the Gs. I've been a Golfer for longer than I was a Drinker, which is quite a thought, actually. More than that, I realised that at last I had found something I could do in memory of my husband. People, even much-loved and successful people, disappear off the radar of the community incredibly quickly after they die and I have been struggling with a way to keep something of him in the world. So when I publish that blockbuster - and you will all be the first to know when I do - I'll publish it as a Golfer.
Who the hell are we as women? We are the daughters of men and take their name. Then we marry other men and take their name. If I remarry, then I might take his name but if I choose not to, whose name do I retain - the man who was my first husband or the man who was my father? It is a puzzle. Names are so much a part of how we define ourselves. We take great care (most of us) when we name our children. It is most disconcerting to reach the nursery slopes of middle age and not be certain which tribe I belong to.