Sweet Flypaper of Life

I don’t exactly know why, but this phrase came into my head today: “Sweet Flypaper of Life”.


Flypaper by itself is not that attractive – well, to people anyway. In fact, it can be downright revolting after it catches all those flies.  It is even more horrifying if the proprietor hangs it too low and you get your hair stuck in it. With all those flies!?!  Yuck! (Please excuse me for this image, I’ve probably been reading too much Stephen King lately.)

I wish I had thought of this phrase myself, but “Sweet Flypaper of Life” is a book by two artists who collaborated in the early 1950s to portray some of the people of Harlem, NY. Roy DeCarava was the photographer. He was the 7th photographer and first black artist to be awarded a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in Photography in 1952 and is widely exhibited. Langston Hughes, poet, dramatist and author of the Harlem Renaissance wrote the text. Together they complete a narrative of the worries, speculations, observations and joys of  friends, neighbors, children and grandchildren through the eyes of Sister Mary Bradley.

My favorite part

Her janitor visits Sister Mary Bradly one day, when she is sick.

” ‘Miss Mary, I hear tell you’s down – but with no intentions of going out.’

I said, ‘You’re right! I done got my feet caught in the sweet flypaper of life – and I’ll be dogged if I want to get loose.’

He said, ‘It is sweet ain’t it?’ And ever since that time, that man’s been looking at me, sort of – well, you know…’ ” [1]

My hope

I know that most of you who are living with autism, autistic family members and friends might have that yucky flypaper feeling. I hope that now and then that you are “dogged if you want to get loose”.

Life with autism can be sweet at times.

[1] DeCarava, R. Hughes, L. The Sweet Flypaper of Life Howard University Press, Washington, D.C. 1984

One thought on “Sweet Flypaper of Life

  1. Pingback: Of Flies and Flypaper | Two Voices, One Song

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