But there's one secret, a big one, you already know. Can you guess what it is?
While you think, let me tell you what went through my mind the day I watched - again and again - as the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded mid-air with six astronauts, and one civilian, a high school teacher, inside.
I was a newlywed. My grandparents were still alive, and my parents still considered me their little girl. I still felt like a kid dressed in grown-up clothes.
So as I watched the explosion, did I think how tragic it was, what a terrible thing had happened? Of course I did. But you know what dominated my thoughts? It was, "This can't happen. It's impossible."
See, NASA was run by real grown-ups. I knew my folks had messed up from time to time; in fact, I could list the times out for you, in detail, as if I were building a case against their acts of treason. It would take a while before I could shrug my shoulders and chalk their blunders up to human fallibility. Not till later would I understand that these loving, flawed people were a whole lot like me.
But a place like NASA out-grown-up'ed my parents. It was run by rocket-scientists, the kind of brains with legs who had put men on the moon. They didn't make mistakes.
It took a bit of time before I got it, that they had simply messed up. It took a nano-second more for a new, heart-sickening thought to take hold: The country, the world was run by people no smarter than me.
We were all in serious trouble.
Have you guessed The Great Big Secret? It's this:
People are only people.
Think of it: Those erudite authors pictured on book jackets. The intimidating agents who send back your manuscripts with form rejections. The big deal editors you can't bring yourself to approach.
All just people.
I've met some, and watched, just to be sure. They bite their nails to the quick, some of them. When they laugh, sometimes things fly out their noses. They say dumb things from time to time, the sorts of things you might say if you didn't feel sure of yourself.
Sometimes they don't feel sure of themselves.
Sometimes they say no when they should say yes. Or they say nothing at all when they should say something. Sometimes they mess up.
And that's actually good news. It means that you are as grown-up as anybody ever gets. No matter how you try, no matter how many grown-up clothes you put on, sometimes things will fly out your nose.
And when they do, you'll tidy yourself as best you can, and continue.
Welcome to the human race.