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Symbols Flow, by George Potter

George Potter’s first book is a wonderfully diverse peek into both his interesting life and creative mind. Ranging from songs to short stories to essays and poetry and beyond, Symbols Flow similarly ranges from words of simple beauty to gritty depictions of the complexities of interactions with thugs of differing kinds. For those not already familiar with Potter’s writing, the prologue serves both as homage and appetizer—and the book does not disappoint.

The power of Symbols Flow is not difficult to source; Potter is a keen observer of humanity, an insightful weaver with words. His ability to create narrative magic from events most of us would consider humdrum suffuses the first essay, micropiece. I had first encountered it on a forum we both frequented; Potter had graciously allowed me to republish it on my own site. Rereading it brought tears to my eyes yet again, as he effortlessly ranges from straightforward observation to metaphysics. Potter even offers a key to political persuasion that, years later, far too many in the freedom movement have yet to comprehend:

That is the proper way to be a rabblerouser. By treating people as people. By engaging their hearts and souls. By approaching them as human beings and not potential converts. [pp. 15–16]
Other nonfiction pieces are grittier than micropiece, but they also offer thoughtful observations and a greater appreciation for the author’s context.

The poetry section serves as a capable, no less evocative interlude between Potter’s nonfiction and fiction. The organization helps segregate them, which is good; his prose is uniformly lyrical, leaving only the use of first person in the nonfiction to distinguish them. And as the story notes at the end of the book reveal, plenty of real-life inspiration shaped a few of Potter’s fiction pieces.

A reader may not like all the tapestries George Potter weaves—Xangurl and The Liberators come to mind as being possibly uncomfortably challenging for some libertarians—but each is dexterously crafted, designed to provoke feeling as well as thought. For me they do so, wonderfully. Symbols Flow is a powerful package, and, we can hope, the first of many volumes from George Potter. Symbols flow, indeed.

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