When Robert Altman garnered an honorary Oscar at the 2005 Academy Awards, he compared movie making to building a sand castle:
"I've always said that making a film is like making a sand castle at a beach. You invite your friends, and you get them down there, and you build this beautiful structure, several of you. Then you sit back and watch the tide come in. Have a drink, watch the tide come in, and the ocean just takes it away. And that sand castle remains in your mind."
When I first heard this, I thought, yeah, but with a movie, you at least have the film - that doesn't go away. I've always thought this metaphor was better suited to a play where it actually does go away -- the set, the props, the costumes, the actors.
But as I re-visit this idea I realize that he is talking about the actual building of the sand castle. A film is just a photograph of the sand castle, it does not convey the joy or the camaraderie or even the agony of making the perfect sand castle.
So many memories are like this: they are built with friends and then washed away by the tide only to remain in your mind.
And this idea of memories really struck me the other day when I saw another picture of a castle. I was in New York City with my kids for an audition for my daughter (she didn't get it). We were walking by a slew of posters when I noticed one of them was for The Unforgettable Fire, the re-mastered version by U2. Immediately, I was in high school in 1984, having just returned from France where I had heard U2 for the first time. U2 was just starting to get popular in the states with this album and I'm in the lunch room discussing the band with friends, thinking I know more about U2 having heard them in France.
That sand castle is long gone but it's still vivid to me. So in honor of The Unforgettable Fire and all the memories U2 has given me, here's a link to their performance at LiveAid (remember that sand castle?):
Here's to your sand castles!