Archived Story

A spy on the prairie

Published 11:32am Monday, October 1, 2012

Telling tales of a gay washing machine, a tribe of girls, Vietnam and much more, Alan “Lindy” Linda has been writing a weekly column for The Daily Journal for 25 years, and tomorrow he will release his first book, “The Prairie Spy: Who Shot the Dryer? and Other Stories from the Home Front.” The book is a compilation of some of his favorite short stories.

“Most people find it difficult to read a 300-page book,” Linda said. “This should be easy to read. Most of the writing is pretty funny, with Vietnam as the exception. Bookstores are full of angst-laden tell-alls, specialized mysteries, autobiographies and romance. A lot of people don’t want to read any of that.”

Linda said everybody wants to have a book, but he had no intention of publishing a compilation when he began writing columns.

“The columns were a goal by themselves,” he said.

Linda’s interest in writing was sparked when he took a creative writing class as part of his general studies at Iowa State University before he was drafted out of the classroom to go to Vietnam.

After he returned to Iowa, Linda decided to head for British Columbia, Canada, where Vietnam War veterans were given 40 acres of land. Linda said he was pretty upset with the country at the time, but in his journey north, he never made it past New York Mills.

“There was a ‘For Sale’ sign on the road, and I decided to move in,” he said.

Linda has lived on the same farm since he moved there in the late 1960s. Since that time, Linda has farmed, done heating/air conditioning maintenance, opened a hardware store and taught at M State – Wadena.

Even though he is retired now, Linda still enjoys writing his weekly columns, and he said he is excited to see what people think of his book.

“It’s a huge mystery where this is going or if anybody cares,” he said. “I’ve had enough requests over the years to give it a shot.”

“The Prairie Spy” is organized into chapters based on recurring topics Linda has written about in the past 25 years. Chapters include Appliances, Gender Differences, Young Girls and Vietnam.

The book is concluded with a fictional story called “The Tornado,” a short story Linda wrote after he returned from Vietnam.

The book will be released Monday, and it will be available at local bookstores including Victor Lundeen’s and Book World in Detroit Lakes. It can also be found online at, where it can be ordered in hard copy or as an e-book.

There will be a book signing in Detroit Lakes on Oct. 26 at Book World and in Fergus Falls on Oct. 27 at Victor Lundeen’s.

Linda said he might be interested in writing another book, but he wants to wait to see how his first book is received before he commits to putting together another.

Whether or not he writes a second book, Linda said he hopes to continue to write his weekly column until he no longer enjoys writing them or his readers no longer enjoy reading them.

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