My name is Maurice. All of my family and many of my friends call me Riis (pronounced Reese). So please, if you’ve friended/followed me or have been friended/followed, feel free. I was born, raised and still reside in the County of Los Angeles, California. I come from a Pentecostal Christian family with parents who have been happily married for 48 years. Their story is from where I draw my deep understanding of commitment and devotion. I am the youngest of 4 children with 2 brothers and one adopted sister who’s exactly 6 months older than me. I grew up in what used to be called the infamous South Central part of Los Angeles. Yes, I’ve seen drive-bys. I’ve been shot at. I’ve been involved in school brawls that included more than 50 people. And I’ve had family members murdered. But neither me, nor anyone from my family has ever been in a gang. Your learn quickly to adjust to your environment and how to survive the set of circumstances you’re dealt.
I am a husband and father. I have 5 children, 4 boys and 1 girl. My oldest 2 boys are from a previous marriage that lasted from June 4, 1994 to March 3, 2001. It was especially painful to be in court on Valentine’s Day 2001 as the judge handed me the papers granting us a dissolusion of marriage that would take effect in less than 3 weeks time. I have always been, and continue to be an advocate for marriage. My current marriage began on August 7, 2004. Dre and I will be happily celebrating our 8th anniversary this year. The difference between the two is like night and day. I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating… I used to think relationships like this only existed in movies. You know, the flirty looks, giddy teasing, full of adventure, romance between two like-minded people who began as best friends and ended up as lovers. That’s us. She is, in a word, extraordinary. In my eyes no woman will ever compare.
I am a musician. Music is my passion. I dream music. When I hear music I can literally see the movement of the notes, the syncopation and the various instruments used. It’s hard to explain, but it’s a type of synesthesia. Music literally conjures images in my head. It is a part of me as much as breathing. I began playing the piano at age 7. It wasn’t that my parents felt that all of us kids should learn an instrument. No, that wouldn’t be interesting at all. It all started because the brand new piano my parents bought for my older brother to practice on, sat in our living room untouched because he grew bored with the lessons he previously begged for. I, on the other hand, was fascinated by this monsterous noise maker and decided that since no one else was using it, I’d teach myself to play. And I did. Slowly but surely I went from finger pecks to two-hand quad-chords. I have never had a formal lesson, but I’ve been a studio session musician, played in a few bands, and on good days I can play circles around some trained musicians. I have also taught myself to play the drums, guitar and a little trumpet.
I am a thespian. I won a trophy in a Cal-Poly Pomona Shakespear Festival in the Male Monologue category at age 16. I was Marc Antony from Julius Caesar. I have been in plays, on TV and even in movies. Never as the lead, but with enough exposure to put together a pretty impressive bio if I wanted to pursue it full-time. But I don’t. It’s not the life I wanted to lead, although it was fascinating getting a glimpse into that world. Plus, it afforded me a SAG card which comes with its own perks. The acting comes in handy with everyday life at times. I can be quite convincing when I need to be, but I never abuse this talent.
I am a writer. I’ve been blogging since early 2001. Writing is probably second on my list of passions. I love to write and express myself in the written (or typed) word. I am not a grammer nazi, but my eyes are often automatically drawn to what I consider blatant typos in professionally published material. I know the difference between accept and except, and I can give you the what-for in regards to new words being added to the dictionary, like noob, l33t or bootylicious.
I could go on and on about the various ingredients that were combined to make me who I am today. But at least that’s a beginning. If there’s anything that may have stirred up a follow-up question, feel free to ask me. My life is transparent.