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Vein of Gold Journey

“A creative writer can do his best only with what lies within the range and character of his deepest sympathies.”—Willa Cather

As I continue on my newly found creative journey, the library has become a best friend. Checking out several books by Julia Cameron, I have immersed myself in how the creative process works and how important it is to actively pursue so that I can become more whole. One of those books is The Vein of Gold: a journey to your creative heart. Each chapter is flanked with various exercises to help the reader experience his or her inner artist, which most likely, has been “buried alive under a mountain of negative conditioning”. I am taking baby steps with the book, and it is helping give me open ideas and examples how to work out my artistic muscle that has been lying dormant for many years.

One of the chapters in the book jumped out at me recently, and is aptly the same as the title: The Vein of Gold. Cameron’s friend, the late film director, Martin Ritt, best explains the ‘vein of gold’ concept:

“All actors have a certain territory, a certain range, they were born to play. I call that range their ‘vein of gold’. If you cast an actor within that vein, he will always give you a brilliant performance. Of course, you can always cast an actor outside his vein of gold. If you do, the actor can use craft and technique to give you a very fine, a very creditable performance, but never a performance as brilliant as when he is working in his vein of gold.”

This can be applied to any art form or ability, not only acting. It’s not that you couldn’t or shouldn’t stretch yourself in other directions, which aren’t your main area of talent, but that the vein of gold is the unique range of work that only you can offer the world, as well as yourself. That is where the magic happens. Cameron uses a few examples of actors’ ranges to help us understand. One of the best instances is Meryl Streep.  She captures us best in roles involving “high drama—and high-end drama at that”. While she adores comedy and plays it whenever she gets a chance, we are certain that her vein of gold lies within her ability to be “a little foreign and very much in jeopardy, longing for a man, not for justice”.

The Vein of Gold book by Julia Cameron

This concept hit me like a tough punch in the gut. I’ve been telling myself for months that if I could only discover the roles that fit me best, then I could prove my acting ability. I told myself if I could “brainstorm a bit more to pinpoint the topics that I need to dive into with writing, then I’ll be on the right path”, and so on. However, telling myself these things only halfway helped. It encouraged me at first, and then dropped me back into my old “I’ll never be good enough” mentality. I felt that way until I read this chapter on the vein of gold concept and fell in love with it. Cameron gives me hope without diminishing the amount of hard work and talent, which must be present in order to reach that sweet spot.

While I’m still not exactly sure what my vein of gold is, I know now without a doubt that it’s in there, ready and waiting to be birthed, and celebrated for the miracle of life it is within me. And even though Cameron won’t tell me why it’s there or from whence it truly came, I can be at peace knowing it is He who gave the gift as well as the dream.

…Meet the author Crystal Gettings on the About Us page!

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7 thoughts on “Vein of Gold Journey

  1. sammiebennett on said:

    “While I’m still not exactly sure what my vein of gold is, I know now without a doubt that it’s in there, ready and waiting to be birthed, and celebrated for the miracle of life it is within me.” Amen, sister! Oh my word, I re-read the sentence a couple of times. I absolutely love the link between life and the vein of gold.

  2. Mike Black on said:

    Well Crystal, your life is being so shaped and I’m glad you know the Hand that is truely shaping it. I like the title and the thought of a “Vein of Gold” so aply describes it! In the sports world it is called “being in the zone.” I believe it’s when all the latent talent and situational requirement explode together to combine to ignite and consume the required fuel to display what God has so put you here for. Kaboom! Praying for you to swim freely in “The Vein of Gold.” Oh and don’t forget it is but a journey and not a resting place.
    I’m so proud to see you growing every day!

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