Student Spotlight: Katie Bonderud

Cayde Schmedding, Staff Writer

In middle school, Katie Bonderud began her journey to becoming a novelist with her sweeping hundred-page fantasy novel, “The Unknown.” This book, her first, centered around a motivated alien girl who, after her planet’s inevitable demise, came to Earth to save the human race from the same fate. Although the now-junior Bonderud’s novel lacked coherence or an ending, the four year project provided catharsis and an outlet to express her emotions. Since her first foray into writing fiction, Bonderud joined the Intuitive Writing Project, a group based in Orinda that focuses on creative expression, and used the medium as an outlet for her imagination and creativity.

“I joined the Intuitive Writers Program when I was going through a lot. Since then, it’s consistently been the highlight of my week,” Bonderud said.

Bonderud joined the Intuitive Writing Project during seventh grade. The project’s executive director and one of its instructors, Elizabeth Perlman, created the program to allow for girls to vent their emotions through a creative and constructive outlet. Once a week, three to seven students will meet and discuss real world issues, spirituality, and other topics then write for 60 to 90 minutes. Bonderud finds the meetings to be a positive experience, especially because the students can only give positive feedback to one another.

“When we write, we discover who we are on the inside, our true essential self. I created this organization because it was what I wanted and needed when I was in High School.” Perlman said

Every year, the Intuitive Writers Program publishes a book featuring short creative pieces from the students over the course of the year. The pieces often include short stories, poems, and other forms of literary creativity. These books are for sale on the Intuitive Writing Project’s website. Bonderud has published works in three editions of this book: the 2017, 2018, and 2019 editions. In the 2018 edition, Bonderud wrote “Cola Latte” and “Metaphors and Sayings.”  In the 2019 edition, she wrote “Story of Two Blueberries,” “It’s Pretty Insane,”  and “Time Can Only Tell.”

“I find inspiration literally everywhere. Ideas will just pop into my head.” Bonderud said.

Bonderud wrote many poems, short stories, and speeches, but she’s most proud of a speech she gave sophomore year for public speaking which was a comedic satire on learning how to drive with her parents. She’s also still proud of her original fantasy novel from elementary school. She also likes to look back at her short stories. Although she sometimes thinks they’re poorly written and juvenile, she can’t help but smile when she reads “Story of Two Blueberries,” which was inspired by a classroom discussion in her freshman English class.

“Katie brings her whole heart to the class and to everything she does. Despite her own struggles Katie always shines her light – a very bright and powerful light!” Perlman said.

Bonderud likes to spend her time reading, especially fantasy and self-improvement books. In addition to random bursts of inspiration, she often becomes inspired from what she reads. When she’s not reading or writing, Bonderud runs for the Miramonte Cross Country team, but due to a recent surgery has been unable to run. After her recovery, Bonderud strives to continue running as she has a goal of getting on the varsity team.

“She really loves to run. When we’re together we mostly go on walks or hangout outdoors,” her boyfriend, junior Benjamin Davis said.

Nowadays, Bonderud meets with her group once a week online. They continue to write together and positively share their creativity with one another, and it continues to be Bonderud’s favorite experience each week.