IndiaWritingStation, America, & Me


An American

Journey as






After over thirty eventful years of community service work in the United States--each experience filtered through the lens of my boyhood and early adult years in India--I would like to share with you information about my literary works set in India and the United States.

I grew up in Bombay, where I attended St. Michael's High School, Wilson College, and the University of Bombay (M.A., Economics). In the United States, I studied at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism (MSJ). I live and work in California.

While working in the United States, I have focused on community development, homeless training and employment, and accessible housing for persons with disabilities. I worked for five years as a Volunteer In Service To America in Michigan (Grand Rapids) and California (Madera, San Francisco, and Berkeley), and sixteen years at the Berkeley Center for Independent Living.

In the late 1980s, when I reached a breaking point working in a variety of dysfunctional settings, I learned many life enhancing lessons developing the Personal Clown buried inside me. When that, too, was not enough to lighten the load, attending 90 Twelve Step Program meetings in 90 days restored the balance in my life.

I helped establish Jobs for Homeless Consortium in Berkeley in 1988 and was its executive director from 1995 to October 2004. As part of the peer counseling approach that I championed, I focused on hiring people who had personal experience with homelessness, disability, or recovery from addiction. Our wonderful team of street-smart experts helped Open a World of Possibilities for over 15,000 homeless persons, using client-centered, learner-centered methods. The client came first for us, not the agency.

I was the editor and publisher of New River Free Press of Grand Rapids, Michigan (1974-1977); editor and designer of The Architecture of Independence series (Ramps are beautiful, 1982; Going where you wheel, 1986; and Making your home accessible, 1988); and executive editor of Fast-Track Training & Employment: Opening a World of Possibilities for Your Clients (Jobs for Homeless Consortium, 2000).

I am the author of two publications of Writers Workshop, Kolkata: Split in Two (1971, Second Revised Edition 2004) and Anything Out of Place Is Dirt (1972, Second Revised Edition 2004). For those who only know my Community Worker interests, you might find these books revealing another aspect of the journey from the battle lines of the intellect to the heart's warm embrace.

The revised second edition of That Damn Romantic Fool will be published in 2005.

I am currently giving the finishing touches to three unpublished novels.

The two novels featured in IWS, Dirt and Fool explore the close, many-layered relationships between young men in India at a time of religious, linguistic, and racial divisions; urban isolation; unfulfilled romantic and sexual yearnings within a conservative society; and intense argumentation over contending paths to national development: social democratic versus revolutionary.

If you haven't done so yet, please check the Navigation bar on the left for the following pages: Split in Two, Anything Out of Place Is Dirt, That Damn Romantic Fool,or Community Worker. The works of fiction, Dirt and Fool, will be serialized on this website in the future.

Split in Two, Anything Out of Place Is Dirt, and That Damn Romantic Fool will also be available from Writers Workshop, 162/92 Lake Gardens, Kolkata 700 045, India. Visit Writers Workshop at .

Finally, I have come to realize that it is the Personal Clown buried inside me who has seen me through the best of times and the worst of times.

The poem that is featured below is from Split in Two.


When a man big with himself

finds the other

the smaller

the weaker

the meeker

go farther

he looks forlorn

and gropes


If I were in the same position

I'd make the transition quickly

with one simple decision:

I'd branch out for the sun

From: Split in Two

(Revised Second Edition, 2004, Writers Workshop, Kolkata)
Copyright 2004 Michael Chacko Daniels

A lot of work.


Pages From A Popular History of Grand Rapids, MI

New River Free Press, August 1975/Reprint

A Letter from Michael Daniels & Teresa Podgorski

How Does NRFP Take

Stock in America?

  • If you are Don Heinzelman, you show your values by giving value to a house ready for demolition, and transforming it with sweat and love into a habitable dwelling.
  • If you are the Bouwsmas, you put your body where your beliefs are and move to the inner city, and then gradually work with your neighbors at activating the neighborhood. (Congratulations Morris Ave. on getting into the Neighborhood Alliance!)
  • If you are Vivian Lewis, you work at getting a Fix-it program going so that housing rehab and homesteading can become a reality.
  • If you are a Volunteer In Service To America, like Craig Anderson, you work to get houses painted under a low-cost paint program.
  • If you are a Bill Harris, you work at improving housing by helping on community problems.
  • If you are a Don Walsh, you help your neighborhood get organized.

New River Free Press, August 1975/Reprint

New River Free Press:

Your Friendly Guide To Urban Survival & Improvement

From 1973 to 1977 Grand Rapids' Independent Voice

This community newspaper was lovingly hand-crafted on an
IBM Selectric. All its Bookman headlines were produced by
individually hand-pressing transfer lettering.

--Michael Chacko Daniels, Editor & Publisher



And the following

Popular History Pages


____________ * ____________


A Grand Rapids Popular History


Pages from New River Free Press, 1973 to 1977


Your Friendly Guide to Urban Survival & Improvement:


Signed, Limited Editions

An avid reader's comment about

Michael Chacko Daniels'

handcrafted books:

"The books are beautiful,

they look like little treasures."

--Brenda Coleman

Each copy is

a work of art in itself.

Click here to read more about
 Michael Chacko Daniels' books.

Click here to view a digital version of

Anything Out of Place Is Dirt
on Google Book Search 

Click here to view a digital version of

Split in Two
on Google Book Search