This is not the first time we have written this, nor do we suspect it will be the last. But how do we grow as writers? And when we seek to stay engaged and immersed in a changing world how does it affect our writing? What if we keep writing and producing new words and want to keep it fresh, challenging ourselves to explore new ideas and push in new directions? We ask this because we just finished Perfect Conditions by the Vanessa Blakeslee and while it is so very Blakeslee, an exploration of the normal, broken marriages, and families, the world of work, and health, missed opportunities for love, and surfing, lots of surfing, it is something else as well, an rumination on women's rights, and especially their bodies, the environment and the upcoming apocalypse. There's also some magical realism if that's your jam. None of which surprises us, as we recently had the opportunity to talk with the Blakeslee over on This Podcast Will Change Your Life. We know she cares about these issues, especially the environment, and we can't imagine how they wouldn't creep into her work. But we still want to believe it's about growth, because great writers grow, and Blakeslee is one of our great ones. We are also reminded of a quote we referenced when we reviewed her debut story collection Train Shots: "Now remember, even though what you're seeing appears to be standing still, nothing ever is." We loved this quote because it reminded us of Blakeslee's stories, so much happening right below their otherwise calm surfaces. Emotion and struggle and pain. A desire for some kind of normal. That's still true. But what isn't true, is what we also wrote at the time, that she didn't do weird or surreal. That's changed, because like her stories, Blakeslee isn't standing still either. Well that, and she is as sure to change your life as she ever was. Some things of course never change.