Craig Willse on the Difference Between Feeling Powerless and Powerlessness

Welcome to I’m a Writer But, where writers discuss their work, their lives, their other work, the stuff that takes up any free time they have, all the stuff they’re not able to get to, and the ways in which any of us get anything done. Plus: book recommendations, bad jokes, okay jokes, despair, joy, and anything else going on that week. Hosted by Lindsay Hunter.    

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Today, Craig Willse discusses his debut novel, Providence, as well as writing family systems, grief, the many times he rewrote the book, layering in tension, rewarding the reader with sex, the danger of projection, and more!

From the episode:

Craig Willse: I think for me, the feeling that I was trying to work out with this story was that there’s a difference between feeling trapped and being trapped, but that feeling is real. Feeling powerless–that isn’t the same thing as powerlessness, but it’s real. I think the flaw, for Mark, is not being able to see that difference.


Craig Willse is a teacher and freelance editor living in Los Angeles. A 2021 Lambda Literary Fellow, Craig has recent work in HAD, Joyland, and Fence. His first novel, Providence, is out now from Union Square. He is also the author of The Value of Homelessness (University of Minnesota Press) and has a PhD in Sociology from the CUNY Graduate Center.

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