Ideas are usually generated by the act of writing itself. William Burroughs spoke of ‘the word vine’; the process by which if you write down a word, this will shape and suggest the next word, and so on. Take this thinking to its counterintuitive conclusions, it suggests that writers, far from being the god-like creators of worlds that they may imagine themselves to be, are in fact only vehicles by which means ideas can have themselves. By the same token, if we are talking about the ideas embedded in a certain location – the complex aggregate of these ideas representing that location’s ‘spirit of place’, if you will – then I think we can reasonably and realistically speak of a place exerting its influence over someone who finds themselves writing about it.
It goes on, obviously. There’s also a glorious rant in there on kids today and how entertainment has stolen imagination from them.