FUNNY WOMEN #136: Recommendation Letter


To Whom It May Concern:

I write you today to ardently recommend RN Healey. I have been familiar with her work for many years and am compelled to share with you its merits and promise. RN Healey will surely—given proper time and resources—set a new standard in the field. Her pieces are bold and merciless. As an artist, she takes observable quotidian and subverts it in surrealist expressions of lacerating truth. As a commuter, she wears sunglasses on the subway. I feel confident in my knowledge of her breadth of work; I know that when she is not psychically gambling, she is visiting her mother in Yonkers or fantasizing about having a fruit bat as a pet.

I have seen RN Healey eat a Cookies N’ Cream Hershey bar, vegetarian sushi, tuna sushi, lentils, chickpeas, an apple (angrily), Thai curries, cornbread, and maybe a steak. She has most likely attempted to eat a cigarette. She is passionate about complimenting anyone’s cats, unperturbed by gravity, and can enthusiastically multi-task, as long as the tasks do not include objects in motion or motor vehicles.

RN Healey makes for excellent company because she bathes frequently and keeps her fingernails immaculate. She has the air of being a likely Powerball winner. In the basement apartment where she once lived in Pittsburgh, she hung a single deciduous forest wildlife poster, but other than that, kept the walls and floors bare in a manner some described as “eerie.”


I have seen RN Healey overcome challenges and surpass what some may consider insuperable obstacles. She once had the irritating habit of extinguishing her Camel Blues on the passenger side door of my car.

I had a dream that I was accompanying a black ram to a parade. I didn’t realize until too late that the ram was sickly. I covered it with a quilt, but the ground kept collapsing.

You are probably wondering about my romantic history with RN Healey, so I will be as direct about this as I can: the vagaries of our involvement haunt me. It’s possible that she is a reincarnated Civil War soldier (ask her about her childhood); some might consider this a sort of supernatural groundwork for her lesbianism, which I can’t recommend enough.

RN Healey is slightly taller than five feet. She has a meager build, pale skin, and irises like day-old coffee. Her heated, arrhythmic gestures give her a violent aura (in a productive way). If she were on the cover of a magazine, I think she would be dressed in faux fur and knockoff wayfarers and a wide-brimmed hat accented with porcupine quills. The accompanying feature would be called: Still Life with Ennui: From Pikachu to Warhol.

She would be an excellent member of the Bedford-Stuyvesant YMCA, and I passionately urge you to accept her application. Your hours work well with her nap schedule, which is a big thing.

Evidenced by my years of experience with RN Healey, she would make an outstanding anything. She always answers the phone as if she doesn’t know who is calling, which is disorienting in today’s world. You will find, as I have, that she deftly uses time and money, and while she is not an ebullient expresser of things, she is an eager student of life. She drinks Old Overholt neat, romanticizes Detroit, and knows her way around astrological compatibilities.


Thank you for your time and consideration of this recommendation. As for me, my work is visceral but not pedantic, didactic but not preachy, hyper-naturalistic but not mundane, truthful but not casual, violent but not explosive, relevant but not pandering. More about me: I fear deep bodies of water and anything—whether flora or fauna—that lives in them. The memory of my first trauma remains chillingly clear: someone greeted me in an Australian accent on a playground. I have six tattoos and forty friends. I’m not exactly a morning person. I do not recommend the morning.

Liza Birkenmeier


Rumpus original art by Annie Daly. Purchase Annie’s art here.


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Liza Birkenmeier is a Brooklyn-based playwright. She is a member of the Emerging Writers Group at the Public Theater and is currently working on Tragedy in Spades: A Crime Documentary (a play), which will premiere at University Settlement in April 2016. More from this author →