I was reading about Z, reading Z's autobiographical journals about herself. I was reading them, I think, mostly as they occurred2. She hung out with an elite, literate artistic community4, and what she wrote was exquisite and rarefied.
She had apparently at some point become trapped in a subway station5 (or maybe it was an airport? It wasn't quite coherent), and in some of her writings she detailed stories of some of her compatriots trapped there with her6, with some implications of somewhat libertine sexual mores7, at least in that environment. Moreover, she ennumerated how all the others had eventually escaped, or perhaps all but one.
But mainly I read her for the literate, thoughtful analysis of various stuff rather than the autobiographical material. At some point I read something which said something about her being in Paris, and I realized that I must not have been paying attention or had been skimming some recent stuff, because I had missed the transition to France (from an unnamed country, seemingly a cross between England, Spain, and Italy9). Actually this might have happened before the subway thing.
So then (that is, in an inexplicable dream transition) I found myself browsing this row of pamphlets which contained the continuation of the above journalish writings. Each pamphlet was black&white, with a nice different design aesthetic, and a single-word title not particularly related to the material contained within. There was no indication of the author or date or order in which they were to be read, and I recall wondering how anybody who lacked the context I had10 would have known what and who they were.
I browsed through a few--they were around 24 pages, but they each had a full index which was quite helpful for seeing which ones were interesting. Since they were only $2.95 apiece, I picked up three in a row because the first and third were particularly interesting11.
The first featured something specifically memorable that I've forgotten now, but also contained musings on the nature of creativity and the creative process12. The second just continued some ongoing discussion. The third featured, midway through, a several page analysis of my game Chromatron13. There was a curious analysis of a supposed problem with the very beginning of the game--that when people are just getting a feel for how things work, when it's supposed to be simple and trivial, it's frustrating to place a mirror and get the puzzle "wrong" because you placed the mirror in the wrong column, so things didn't quite line up right14.
There was a little more but I don't remember it now.
1. I actually normally refer to this person by a different pseudonym--indeed, I refer to almost everyone I know online by something other than their real name--so the extra level of pseudonymage is perhaps excessive.
2. Inspired by LiveJournal, quite probably.3
3. The real Z does in fact have a LiveJournal, but I doubt that had anything to do with the dream.
4. I'm not sure whether I was picturing Dorothy Parker and the Algonquin Round Table or either of several muds I hang out on.
5. In hindsight this sounds like the song about Charlie and his lack of nickle for the MTA beneath the streets of Boston, but I'm doubtful that was actually a source of the dream material.
6. There is a pun here on the word "Underground" (London vs. French), but I don't think this was the basis of the dream.
7. This would seem to be just the usual sex-cropping-up-in-dreams rather than being related to the actual Z, although I have chosen to phrase this text to reference something the actual Z wrote8.
8. There is probably more than one person who might think this is about them, and the actual text near footnote 7 still allows for two of them.
9. Seeing as the previous country had English as the primary language, was geographically adjacent to France, and had architecture a la Rome.
10. The inexplicable dream transition.
11. In ways explained in the next paragraph.
12. This whole section would appear to have been inspired by the IF Theory book, which I have been working on my articles for so it's not surprising it would be lurking around in dreams.
13. Although I'm fairly sure the actual Z has never played it.
14. Although on the surface this is an event that could happen in Chromatron, it's not actually something anyone would ever get frustrated with, as it's on a grid, and it's easy to move mirrors around and fix things so they're right. At the time it felt like a valid criticism, though. (It's also a valid criticism of some other laser games, such as Laser Light